Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.

16.53 John Lewis Partnership sales surge

Waitrose and partners total sales surged 20% for the week ending April 20 boosted by Easter themed goods and warmer weather.

The grocer’s ambient sales rocketed 26.7% with non-ambient and home and general merchandise sales increasing 15.2% and 15.7% respectively.

John Lewis and partners total sales spiked 10.1% during the same period.

The department stores fashion sales increased 9.3% as customers bought more summer season clothes.

Home sales surged 11.6% and electricals & home technology sales jumped 10.2% attributed to the sale of fans due to the unusually warm weather.

Total sales soared 16.5% across the partnership to £236.7m.

8:12am Darren Topp returns to LK Bennett as chief executive

Former LK Bennett boss Darren Topp has been reappointed to the top job, following its acquisition by a Chinese partner.

Topp was previously chief executive of high street fashion brand from September 2016 to March 2018, and was reappointed after working with Rebecca Feng to help her buy the retailer out of administration, Drapers has reported.

Feng acquired LK Bennett’s UK, Ireland and wholesale business on April 12 through her company Byland UK.

Topp replaces Erica Vilkauls, who was brought in from fashion retailer East to succeed him in 2018.

Prior to last working with LK Bennett, Topps was boss of BHS, which collapsed into administration in April 2016. He is also currently chair of specialist fashion and retail recruitment firm Retail Executives.

7:30am US department store goes all in on Amazon

US department store chain Kohl’s has decided to embrace rather than fight Amazon, by announcing it will accept returns for the etail giant across all of its stores from July. 

Kohl’s made the announcement on Tuesday that it would accept returns from Amazon customers, even without the shipping box, at all 1,150 of its stores across the US, according to CNN. 

The department store chain first trialled accepting Amazon returns two years ago, and Kohl’s boss Michelle Gass believes that joining with Amazon could help attract younger shoppers to its stores.

She said the partnership was an “example of how Kohl’s is delivering innovation to drive traffic to our stores and bring more relevance to our customers.”

7:25am Boohoo full year profits surge as sales nearly double

Boohoo has unveiled another stellar set of full-year results, which saw pre-tax profits swell by 38% and sales nearly double for a second year in a row.

The online fast fashion group’s pre-tax profits surged by 38% to £59.9m in the 52 weeks to February 28, 2019, while group sales skyrocketed 48% to £856.9m.

PrettyLittleThing lead the way, with its sales soaring 107% to £374.4m, while Nasty Gal sales were up 96% to £47.9m, although its gross margin was down.

New Boohoo boss John Lyttle said: “I am very excited to have joined the boohoo Group at this key stage of its growth, with the group’s disruptive and proven business model having delivered yet another excellent set of financial and operational results. In my short time within the business, I am delighted to have been able to meet a number of hugely talented people and have already been able to see many parts of the business.”

7:14am Primark profits surge due to higher margins and increased sales

Primark profits surged by 25% during its half year, driven by higher margins and strong sales in its UK and European markets

The retailer saw its adjusted operating profits for the 24 weeks to March 2, 2019 surge by 25% up to £426m, while total revenue was up 4% to over £3.6bn.

Global sales at the value fashion retailer were up 4.4% year-on-year, driven by increased retailing space which helped partially offset a 1.5% decline in like-for-like sales.

7:00am Majestic Wine mulls sale of all UK stores

Majestic Wine is consider selling off all of its UK stores as part of its radical transformation plan designed to focus on Naked Wines, its online business. 

The UK’s largest independent wine seller has appointed Rothschild & Co investment bank to examine options for the potential sale of all 200 of Majestic Wine’s UK stores, according to Sky News. 

Majestic boss Ross Gormley, who founded Naked Wines, told Retail Week in March: ”We have taken a decision to focus all of our capital and energies into delivering the long-term potential of Naked, and releasing value from Majestic. Our plans for doing this are well advanced, and we look forward to sharing the final details in June.”