Retail news round-up on January 4, 2016: Aldi's expansion plans, M&S fires loyalty scheme head and Debenhams in talks with Sir Ian Cheshire.

Aldi plans to fight big four with 80 new supermarkets

Aldi has revealed its plans to open 80 new supermarkets this year in a move to take on the big four in the UK.

The German discounter told The Mail on Sunday that it aims to have 23% more stores over last year.

The expansion plans will take Aldi to more than 700 shops in the country.

M&S sacks loyalty card scheme chief over gross misconduct

Marks & Spencer has sacked the head of its new loyalty scheme for allegedly using racist language, The Sunday Times reported.

The clothing retailer confirmed that the company has parted ways with Suzanna Broer, global director for loyalty and insight.

After a thorough investigation, Broer was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct in mid-November after an allegation that she used racist language at work.

According to her Linkedin page, she was responsible for the creation and launch of ‘Sparks’ reward card.

Broer has been replaced by Nathan Ansell, previously head of marketing for M&S food.

Debenhams could appoint Sir Ian Cheshire as next chairman

Troubled Debenhams is locked in discussions with former Kingfisher boss to become its next chairman, The Sunday Times reported.

Veteran businessman Sir Ian Cheshire, who resigned as the chief executive of the DIY owner of B&Q in December 2014, is understood to be in talks with the department store chain to replace current chairman Nigel Northridge.

Cheshire has not yet agreed to succeed Northridge, according to sources.

Debenhams could confirm the departure of Northridge at its annual meeting on January 14.

Amazon launches ‘Pay Monthly’ scheme in UK

Amazon is planning to offer loans up to four years to its UK customers for orders totalling more than £400, subject to a credit check, The Guardian reported.

This will allow shoppers to pay in instalments for goods sold and dispatched by the online retailer itself.

The new Amazon Pay Monthly scheme charges an interest rate of 16.9% but no deposit is required. The programme is run in conjunction with Hitachi Capital, which offers a similar service to John Lewis.