Retail news round-up November 11, 2013: Suitors circle BHS as Weise prepares to step up interest, Co-op ditches dividend in favour of rewards scheme and Dixons joins Christmas tablet war by launching own version.

Suitors circle BHS as Weise prepares to step up interest

Several suitors are circling over Sir Philip Green’s BHS in order to snapping up the struggling retailer. South African billionaire Christo Wiese is thought to be the frontrunner for the business, having publicly confirmed his interest, teaming up with former Asda boss Andy Bond. However, private equity group Apollo, and corporate turnaround specialists, including HMV owner Hilco, are also thought to be considering making a bid. Wiese is expected to travel to the UK this week to step up his interest, although, it is understood that he and his team has yet to make contact with Green.

Sources close to the billionaire retailer have said privately for some time that Green would be keen to offload BHS.

Co-op ditches dividend in favour of rewards scheme

The Co-op has introduced a new rewards scheme after being forced to abandon its usual pre-Christmas dividend for 7 million members, The Guardian reported. The UK’s biggest mutual organisation told delegates at a meeting in Manchester that £8m in half-year payments to members could not be justified in light of the near-collapse of its banking arm. Details of a separate rewards scheme has been announced that will see members offered 10% food vouchers that can be saved and used as a cash equivalent in the group’s 2,800 food outlets before Christmas Eve. If a Co-operative member spends £30, they will be given a voucher valued at £3.

Dixons joins Christmas tablet war by launching own version

Electricals giant Dixons Retail has launched its own tablet computer valued at £180 as it joins Tesco and Argos in the Christmas tablet war. Dixons’ Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 will be more costly than Tesco and Argos’ own brand versions ans will be sold in Currys and PC World. The group hopes the device will compete against slicker looking products with higher specifications than Samsung, Apple, Google and Amazon versions.

M&S forced to recall 2014 calendars/diaries due to date error

Marks & Spencer has been forced to recall thousands of 2014 calendars and diaries after getting the date of Father’s Day wrong, The Daily Mail reported. The retailer blamed a supplier for the mistake that lists Father’s Day as June 22 instead of June 15. An M&S spokesman said: “Unfortunately, due to a supplier print error we have temporarily withdrawn our 2014 calendars and diaries from sale.”

Although only 10% of the print-run had been delivered, the recall will do no favours for M&S as it tries to strengthen its reputation. Customers who spot the error will be refunded and given a £5 voucher, the store said.