Retail news round-up: Boxing Day footfall declines, Green asks Chappell to contribute to pension deficit scheme and Co-op to open 100 new stores in 2017.

Boxing Day footfall down 7.3%

Footfall across UK shops on Boxing Day was down 7.3% owing to Brexit worries and the growing popularity of online stores, The Guardian reported.

Shopping centres saw a 19% year-on-year drop in footfall, while the high street suffered a 2.2% decline compared with a year ago.

Retail Analysts Springboard predicts that footfall will be down 2.3% this week till December 31, compared with same period last year.

The drop in footfall was owing to the 6.2% increase in the volume of online transactions on Boxing Day.

Green asks Dominic Chappell to contribute to pension deficit scheme

Sir Philip Green wants the Pensions Regulator to ask Dominic Chappell, who bought BHS from him for £1, to help resolve the £571m pension deficit scheme, The Guardian reported.

According to sources close to negotiations, a payment by Chappell is one of the conditions of Green’s contribution.

Philip Green says he was deceived by Chappell about his business track record and the money that Retail Acquisitions was paid by BHS.

Since the launch of legal action in November, negotiations have taken place between Green and regulators and a settlement could be agreed in the early New Year.

Green declined to comment.

Chappell said “at no stage did we trade immorally” and had agreed a “deal in principle” with the regulator and the Pension Protection Fund but Green did not agree to the proposal.

He also accused the Pensions Regulator saying that the company was “screwed” by its investigation, as it prevented Retail Acquisitions hiring a top chief executive and affected its finances.

Co-op to invest £70m in 100 new stores

Co-op plans to invest £70m in 100 new stores, creating 1,500 jobs across the UK in 2017, The Mirror reported.

The grocer will open stores in London and the South East, with five new sites in the capital before the end of March.

Other sites include Swansea, Kings Bromley in Staffordshire, Beverley in Yorkshire, East Lothian and Sheffield.

Co-op property portfolio and development director Stuart Hookins said, "The Co-op has a clear food strategy, which is to deliver a great and convenient shopping experience for millions of members and customers on a daily basis.

“As part of this strategy, our acquisitions programme is fundamental to its success, and we are actively seeking new opportunities.

"Whilst other retailers are scaling back their expansion plans, the Co-op continues to open new convenience stores.

“We opened 100 stores in 2016, and we plan to open hundreds more new stores over the next few years.”

Sports Direct to sell Dunlop for £112m

Sports Direct is selling Dunlop’s overseas trademark rights as well as its sporting goods and licensing business to Japan’s Sumitomo Rubber Industries for $137.5m (£112m), The Telegraph reported.

The sale is a part of the strategy to focus on its core UK business.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries has a 60% stake in Dunlop Sports Co, which is listed in Tokyo stock exchange and owns the rights in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The US rights are shared with Sports Direct.

The sale is expected to be completed by end of May 2017.

American Apparel closes all but one of its UK shops

American Apparel has shut 12 of its 13 UK stores with 147 of its employees losing their jobs, The Independent reported.

The Camden High Street store is the only remaining shop, with 31 members of staff retained for the short term.

The fashion brand had put its UK business into administration last month.

Joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG Jim Tucker said: “Over the last seven weeks, we have carried out our intention to trade all of the stores on a short-term basis in order to sell the stock and realise value for the creditors.

“The Camden store will remain open into January”.

American Apparel in the US has also filed for bankruptcy and it is winding up its businesses in Spain, Japan and Australia.