Retail news round-up: M&S committed to stores in Ireland and Associated British Foods face cost pressure.

M&S committed to Ireland amid international store closure 

M&S is to keep open its 17 stores in Ireland, and company-owned stores in Hong Kong and Czech Republic and joint ventures in Greece and India, while it closes many of its international stores, The Independent reported.

The company will close 53 company-owned outlets in Lithuania, France, China, Belgium, Poland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.

M&S has reversed £4.2m of impairment charges that was previously recognised to five stores in Ireland.

M&S said: "The reversal of the impairment charge reflects an updated view of the future cash flows from these stores, primarily due to reductions in cost of goods following the significant appreciation of the euro relative to sterling during the period."

Head of the Irish business Alison Grainger said the company would continue to operate its profitable owned businesses in Ireland, "where there is strong brand awareness, an established store estate and loyal customer base".

Associated British Foods faces cost pressure from falling sterling

Associated British Foods (ABF), owner of Jordans muesli and Patak’s pickle, says prices of pickles and muesli are to rise owing to increasing pressure on supply chain from falling value of sterling, The Guardian reported.

ABF boss George Weston said: “The days of food price deflation are behind us. There is a lot of cost pressure on the supply chain. In the next 18 months a lot of cost pressures will feed through to higher prices.”

The company is buying ingredients in the UK to offset the rising cost of sourcing ingredients from overseas. However, spices for pickles and dried fruits and nuts for mueslis had to be brought from abroad.

Weston did not confirm if ABF was in talks with supermarkets about price rises.