Retail news round-up: MPs call for corporate governance for private firms, union calls off Tesco strike and UK consumer spending growth slows

MPs call for corporate governance for private firms

The Work & Pensions Committee has asked for corporate governance and reporting requirements to be extended to private companies following the collapse of BHS, This Is Money reported.

In response to the government’s consultation on corporate reform, MPs are demanding that directors should be made more legally responsible and are calling for tough rules to curb the power of heads of big firms.

The committee wants private corporate employers with more than 5,000 staff in their pension scheme to comply with the Financial Reporting Council’s corporate governance code.

Private Irish companies with operations in the UK including the Dunnes Stores and Musgrave Group would be forced to increase the level of public disclosure about their finances.

Union calls off Tesco strike

Mandate has decided to call off a proposed strike that was supposed to be held tomorrow at nine Tesco stores in Ireland, Irish Independent reported.

Mandate's general secretary John Douglas said that they have written a letter to the management of Tesco Ireland last Friday to seek a resolution.

It was stated in the letter that if the retailer will not make changes without approval then the strike would be called off.

The union is awaiting response from the retailer.

Tesco’s spokesperson said that there "has been continuous discussions with Mandate since January 2016 on proposed changes to the pre-1996 contract including spending 150 hours in the Workplace Relation Commission and the Labour Court".

In another incident, Tesco will check the prices of every item in its 3,500 UK stores after a probe discovered customers were being short-changed.

In an investigation by BBC, it was found that almost two-thirds of the outlets with items marked on offer did not have discounts applied at the till.

UK consumer spending growth slows

UK consumer spending increased only 0.4% in January compared with last year, following a 2.5% increase in December, according to Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index.

Spend on the high street recorded an annual decrease of 3.1% in January.

Online spending increased 4.1% year-on-year.

Spending on clothing and footwear reduced 3.8%, while spending on household goods dropped 2.7% annually.

Visa’s managing director Kevin Jenkins said: "Following a bumper Christmas season, there were signs that consumers were starting to rein in their spending at the start of the New Year."

Lion Capital to secure takeover deal with Agent Provocateur

Lion Capital is in discussions with Agent Provocateur’s owner 3i to secure a takeover deal, Sky News reported.

Agent Provocateur’s auction may conclude in the coming days.

Endless and Etam are other parties that have shown interest in exploring offers for Agent Provocateur.

Lion Capital declined to comment.

Clintons plans store closures

Clintons is planning to shut around 120 shops, with hundreds of job at risk, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The retailer said that 120 out of 393 shops were “subject to an ongoing strategic review”.

It also said that “its loss-making shops would be reviewed in line with their lease terms to determine whether they should be closed on expiry”.