Retail news round-up: Booths chief executive departs, pensions regulator warns compnies to plug pensions gap, and retailers launch careers scheme. 

Booths’ chief executive to depart

Booths’ chief executive Chris Dee is set to leave the grocery chain, The Telegraph reported.

Dee, the first and only non-family member to run the business, will leave on June 30.     

Edwin Booth, current executive chairman, will be taking the role of chairman as well as chief executive.

A spokesman confirmed that Dee, who has worked for Booths for the past 20 years, is leaving the chain on amicable terms, but did not say if he was leaving for a new role. 

Companies asked to put pensions before dividends  

The pensions watchdog has warned companies to plug their pension deficits before paying dividends to shareholders, or face investigation, The Times reported.

The Pensions Regulator in its annual funding statement, said: “Trustees need to ensure that contributions to the scheme feature prominently in their employer’s considerations and that its legal obligations to the scheme as a creditor are recognised ahead of shareholders with no legal entitlement to dividends, but who may exert pressure on the employer to obtain them”.

The regulator said that if distributions to shareholders are higher than contributions to closing deficits, there must be a “relatively short recovery plan” to make good the shortfall.

Retailers launch career scheme for part-time workers

A group of high-street retailers including B&Q, Carphone Warehouse, Dixons and John Lewis Partnership are signing up to a scheme to help part-time workers, The Daily Express reported.

The scheme is a 12-month pilot programme, run by Timewise, to identify the constraints on working part-time in senior roles and ways to overcome them.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Flexibility is the second most important reason to work in retail, but in some cases this is a trade-off which may hold some people back from fulfilling their potential.

"It is important that these part-time workers are able to progress within organisations when they choose to."

Eve Sleep raises £35m through AIM

Eve Sleep has launched the first retail IPO of 2017, raising £35m with a float on AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s high-growth market, The Times reported.

The flotation has attracted investment from Neil Woodford, Standard Life and Hargreave Hale.

The fundraising values the online mattress seller at £140m.