Retail news round-up July 22, 2013: Another departure at Asos, Philip Clarke says food price rises inevitable, Mothercare to sell Early Learning Centre

Another senior level departure at online fashion retailer Asos

ASOS’s human resources director Michelle Emmerson has stepped down, only days after the high-profile departure of fashion director Kate Bostock.

Emmerson joined Asos in 2011 as people and services director and sat on the online firm’s senior executive board.


Tesco raises drinks prices as heatwave takes hold

Tesco has put up the price of its most affordable water and fizzy drinks amid a surge in sales as thirsty shoppers try to cool down during the hot spell.

Tesco increased the price of a two-litre bottle of Everyday Value water and cola by 41% to 24p last week, putting it well ahead of rivals Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

The price rise came amid fears of bottled water shortages, with sales in overdrive as the nation tries to cope with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees centigrade in parts of the country. However, Tesco denied it was cashing in on the heatwave and insisted the move reflected the cost of production.


Mothercare Mulls Sale of Early Learning Centre

Mothercare is considering the sale of its loss-making Early Learning Centre (ELC) chain as it intends to return its UK operations to profitability by 2015. However industry analysts believe that selling ELC may be difficult because of its poor track record, as it has perennially underperformed since 2007.

According to Sky News, Mothercare has been holding talks with potential advisers about a sale in recent weeks, although the company has not yet made a formal decision to offload ELC.

Mothercare brought ELC for £85 m but is unlikely to recover anything like that sum if it manages to sell the chain.


Todd Lynn to join “Designers at Debenhams”

Canadian-born designer Todd Lynn has signed up to sell his clothing at Debenhams. The move is part of Debenhams’ “edition” concept, which aims to provide a platform for up-and-coming talent.

Todd Lynn’s 12-piece range will include outerwear, knitwear, leather and denim designs. It will go on sale in October.


Amazon told: time is up for tax avoidance

The G20 nations finance ministers have come together to patch up holes in international tax rules and other reforms. The initiative will see Amazon paying tax on sales from British customers.

Under current rules, Amazon’s £4.2b annual sales in the UK, which rely on a network of eight mega-warehouses across Britain, are routed through Luxembourg, paying negligible UK tax.

Revenue & Customs has no taxing rights over any profits from those sales. Under the proposals, multinationals with warehouses will be taxed in the country where the distribution centres are located.


Amazon UK and ASOS to introduce ‘Follow My Parcel’ to track deliveries

Amazon UK and ASOS will begin using DPD’s new ‘Follow My Parcel’ service to help customer’s track next-day (including Prime) deliveries in real time and let them know exactly how far away their package is.

Traditionally, the courier has updated customers via SMS, assigning them a one-hour delivery slot. The company will continue to send the same alerts but will now include a link to a detailed online map, viewable on both desktop and mobile devices.


Tesco boss says cheap food era is over

Philip Clarke says major food price rises are all but inevitable as poll finds UK shoppers would pay more to back farmers

Philip Clarke, Tesco chief executive, said that rising global demand means the historic low prices to which British consumers have become used are now unsustainable, according to the Observer.

Although Britain’s supermarket bosses have proved extremely resistant to admitting economic pressures would affect the cost of groceries shopping, only Mark Price, chief executive of Waitrose, has broken ranks by admitting food price inflation is inevitable. Last month food price inflation rose slightly from 2.4% in May to 2.7% in June.


Morrisons and B&Q team up to create 300 jobs

B&Q and Morrisons have announced a deal that will see the two come together in a combined store in Meir Park, Staffordshire creating 300 jobs. The site, currently occupied by B&Q with 130 workers employed, will be reduced as part of the project; however no decision has been made in reducing the number of staff.

The scheme, which is subject to planning approval, will represent fresh competition for neighbouring supermarkets Tesco and Aldi.