Retail news round-up on December 8, 2015: Ruane Cunniff & Goldfarb snaps up 5.4% stake in and WHSmith boss gets 55% pay rise after best sales.

Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb picks up 5.4% stake in

US-based investment manager Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb has bought a 5.4% stake in online white goods retailer

The announcement sent the shares 181p higher before closing 6.9p higher at 169.9p.

The household appliances business moved to an interim loss of £8.9m amid a rise in first-half revenues.

WHSmith’s boss set to enjoy 55% increase in pay package

WHSmith has handed its chief executive Stephen Clarke a 55% hike in his pay package after the retailer enjoyed its best sales since 2002 and lifted profits last year.

Clarke has been given a 12.3% one-off salary increase, raising his pay to £550,000 a year for having met his performance targets.

He is also in line for a £783,000 bonus and a £121,000 pension pot. His total pay has risen to £3.9m mainly because of a long-term incentive that paid him £2.5m.

The decision comes after the company's remuneration committee found that Clarke's “current package had fallen to an uncompetitive level, both relative to suitable external benchmarks and to the size of the role”.

The bumper pay is more than Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland, who reaped £2m this year and Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe, who earned a total £1.5m last year.

US regulator set to block merger of Staples and Office Depot

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is set to halt the planned merger of two office supply chains – Staples and Office Depot – as the deal would reduce competition in the office supplies market.

The retailers plan to pursue legal options in order to complete the deal.

The duo plan to show that the FTC’s decision is based on “a flawed analysis and misunderstanding” of the competitive landscape the companies deal with.