Retail news round-up: UK online sales increase for third consecutive month, Amazon plans grocery store with no checkouts, ex-banker sues Mike Ashley

UK online sales grow for the third consecutive month

Black Friday in November led to one in four pounds being spent online, according to the British Retail Consortium, The Telegraph reported.

The sales of non-food items, including homewares and clothing, reported 27.6% of total non-food sales in the UK.

There was a 10.9% decrease in the rate of growth in November compared with 11.8% a year earlier. However, it was the third consecutive month of double-digit online sales growth.

According to a retail analyst at IMRG, approximately £1.23bn was spent online on Black Friday alone and 64% of purchases were made on mobile devices, according to data from ChannelAdvisor.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said: “This was a record high for online non-food sales.

"Facilitated by the convenience of buying online, heavy sales periods, such as November, encourage an increasingly value-driven customer to shop around for price comparisons to fulfil their Christmas shopping list.”

Like-for-like total UK retail sales increased 0.6% in November.

Amazon plans grocery store with no checkouts

Amazon has unveiled plans for a convenience store without a checkout process, the BBC reported.

Using the Go app, customers will pay for the goods they have selected and walk out without stopping at register.

The system uses sensors that detect and track when items are taken or returned to shelves.

The first shop is set to open to the public in early 2017.

Planet Retail analyst Natalie Berg said: "Grocery retail is a crowded sector, and customers have incredibly high expectations of the Amazon brand."

"If they're going to differentiate, they'll need to translate the fantastic customer experience that they have created online in a physical store setting. This is no easy feat.

"Removing the traditional checkout process does exactly that."

Ex-Merrill Lynch banker sues Mike Ashley

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley is being sued by former Merrill Lynch banker Jeff Blue for £14m over an alleged breach of agreement, The Guardian reported.

Jeff Blue resigned as key advisor to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct owing to concerns regarding the retail company’s manipulated share price, according to allegations in legal filings.

Blue in the legal filing said: “In autumn 2012, Merrill Lynch withdrew from acting as Sports Direct’s corporate broker.

"Merrill Lynch did so as a result of concerns that it had regarding Sports Direct’s corporate governance, including the propriety of Sport Direct’s decision in August 2012 to fund the Sports Direct Employee Benefit Trust to buy-back shares for the benefit of Sports Direct’s employee share scheme, without complying with the Buy-back and Stabilisation Regulation as would ordinarily be required by a buy-back of shares by Sports Direct itself.”

Blue, Sports Direct and Merrill Lynch declined to comment.