Retail news round-up August 12, 2013: Asda to offer degree programme to staff, Hawes & Curtis set to expand in the Middle East and Morrisons calls for industry-wide approach towards lad’s mags.

Asda to offer degree programme to its staff

Asda is rolling out a three-year BA honours degree programme in a tie-up with Middlesex University, that will give its staff the chance to study for free while continuing to work, according to The Telegraph. The programme was piloted successfully last year and will allow 30 Asda employees, who must have worked at the retailer for at least six months, to study for a qualification in either distribution or retail operations.

The programme will be fully funded by the retailer and is designed to develop the future leaders of Asda.

Hawes & Curtis to invest £3.2m in Middle East expansion

Hawes & Curtis has partnered with Korath Holding to open 26 stores across the Middle East.  Over the next five years, in £3.2m will be invested to open new stores in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, according to The Telegraph. The first is due to open at the World Trade Centre Mall in Abu Dhabi by the end of this year.

The shirt specialist, which operates 28 stores in the UK, is also working on plans to launch a flagship Hawes & Curtis store in the US and and to start franchising in Indonesia and the Far East.

Morrisons calls for industry-wide approach towards lad’s mags

Morrisons has called for an industry-wide approach to restricting the display of lads’ mags. The retailer plans to talk with bodies such as the British Retail Consortium to encourage its rivals to come together on a collective stance, reports The Guardian.

The call follows The Co-operative’s ultimatum to the publishers of lads’ mags to provide “modesty covers” or face a sales ban from its stores. Tesco is considering tougher restrictions, but has not yet decided whether to follow the Co-op’s lead. Since 2006, Sainsbury’s has used a form of modesty cover – boards placed over titles – for magazines including Zoo, Loaded and Bizarre. Asda has a similar modesty cover for the titles.

Laura Ashley appoints Sai-Hup Fong as joint company secretary

Laura Ashley Holdings has decided to appoint Sai-Hup Fong as joint company secretary along with Kai Xiang Teo, who was appointed company secretary on 1 October 2012.