Retail news round-up: Creditor wants legal action against BHS ex-directors, Smiggle continues UK store opening amid Brexit, John Lewis may reasses stores development at Sprucefield and Britain retailers' tax may increase

BHS’ creditor wants legal action against former directors

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has asked BHS’ administrators to put the company into liquidation by the end of the month, The Times reported.

PPF is also asking administrators to consider legal action against former directors and shadow directors to take back funds for creditors.

FRP Advisory, that is set to carry out the liquidation, is looking into the possibility of bringing misconduct charges against former directors, including Dominic Chappell.

PPF spokesperson declined to comment. 

Smiggle continues its UK store openings despite Brexit

Smiggle, which sells brightly coloured pencil cases and lunchboxes, continues with plans to open 200 stores across the UK in the next two years, despite concerns that Brexit could slow consumer spending, The Telegraph reported.

Sales increased AUS$1bn (£590m) in September owing to the expansion of the chain.

Smiggle’s chief executive John Cheston said that the brand had potential to “rival Lego or Disney” as it plans to expand in Asia.

The company currently owns 86 stores in Britain and plans to open another four before Christmas.

Cheston said: “We have said that we can get to 200 shops, but we having to also consider the meteoric rise of our online business and the percentage of that growth”.

“Children drive the demand to our stores and there is a little bit of parental blackmail involved – if children are good, they get to go to Smiggle. Brexit will never change that”, he added.

Court lifts bulky goods restrictions for John Lewis store in Northern Ireland

John Lewis may consider development of its stores at Sprucefield following High court decision to lift ‘bulky goods only' planning restriction that had discouraged the retailer, Belfast Telegraph reported.

The Sprucefield location had sparked opposition from retail organisations who feared it would undermine town and city centre shops and from Belfast City Council, which felt that the capital could become a less attractive option for shoppers if the out-of-town development was permitted.

The Environment Minister Alex Attwood in 2013 ruled retail at Sprucefield should be limited to "bulky goods".

Mr Justice Treacy's decision in the High Court on 18th November 2016 has been welcomed by Lisburn and Castlereagh Council and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, as well as Northern Ireland's Infrastructure and Economy Ministers.

It has been criticised by small retailer representatives and Belfast City Council. 

Britain retailers’ to face £2.3bn tax hike next April

Tax paid by Britain retailers on their shops and warehouses will increase £465.8m a year on average for the next five years, totalling more than £2.3bn, The Guardian reported.

The tax increase has put pressure on retailers, leading to calls for Philip Hammond, the chancellor, to step in.

Retailers are already dealing with a slump in sterling causing import of goods to be expensive.

Federation of Small Businesses policy director Martin McTague said: “We welcomed the government’s ambition to make the business rates appeals system fairer and easier to navigate. However, it is hard to see how this proposal helps to achieve that aim.

“We believe this clause simply fails the fairness test and could result in the door being shut on small businesses who want to correct inaccuracies in valuations and reduce their rates bills. This research shows that businesses that are already struggling could be pushed into insolvency, with smaller firms particularly at risk.”