Retail news round-up September 26, 2013: Homebase to revamp 15 stores by year end, Asda withdraws costume and Debenhams business development head appointed ICSC chair.

Homebase to revamp 15 stores by year end to boost sales

Home improvement retailer Homebase aims to boosts sales by giving a new look to its stores. The company has refitted nine stores so far and is targeting 15 by year end as part of a five-year investment programme.

Homebase aims to invest £1m per store on refurbishment and expects to boosts sales by around a fifth at each revamped outlet, Reuters reported.

Home Retail Group, owner of Homebase, has projected capital expenditure of around £175m annually for the next three years, of which around £50m is set aside for Homebase.

Asda withdraws ‘Mental Patient’ costume

Asda has removed a fancy-dress costume that stigmatises mental illness from its website, following strong criticism.

The blood-splattered outfit, comprising a torn bloodstained shirt, bloodstained plastic meat cleaver and gory face mask, was on sale for £20 through the supermarket’s clothing arm George, Sky News reported.

Asda quickly reacted to the criticism by confirming that the Halloween outfit had been withdrawn from sale and apologised for offence it has caused. The also said that it will make a sizable donation to Mind, the mental health charity.

Debenhams business development head appointed ICSC chair

Debenhams business development head, John Scott has been appointed as chair of the ICSC European Retailer Group.

The International Council of Shopping Centres, founded in 1957, is the global trade association of the shopping centre industry with more than 55,000 members in over 90 countries.