Retail round-up on May 10, 2016: Go Outdoors mulls sale of business and April retail sales suffer biggest drop since last August.
Pensions regulator boss says BHS liability is circa £275m
Pension Protection Fund chief executive Alan Rubenstein told the parliamentary committee probing BHS’s collapse that the high-street chain has a pension liability estimated at £275m.
Rubenstein told the House of Commons business and work and pensions committees that the fund could cover the sum without increasing the annual levy paid by solvent pension schemes to fund his organisation.
Rubenstein also told the committees they should think about setting clear limits for recovery plans – admitting the 23-year period was "exceptionally" long.
Go Outdoors hires KPMG to seek new potential investors
Go Outdoors is examining a possible sale of the privately owned outdoor goods retail chain as it hired KPMG to run the process, according to Financial Times.
The Sheffield-headquartered retailer’s chief executive Chris Matthews said that it was in the ‘initial stages’ of talks with potential investors to spur further expansion of the business.
Matthews did not say whether the owners were considering a full or partial sale of the UK chain.
Cold weather and cautious consumer spending drags April retail sales down
Like-for-like retail sales suffered their biggest decline since last August, falling 0.9% in April on a year earlier, mainly due to cold weather and more cautious shoppers.
Total sales remained flat over last year, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.
Footwear and fashion category recorded a ‘poor month’ as the cold spell affected sales of spring and summer clothing lines, the report found.
Food sales rose last month for the first time since the beginning of the year, while furniture and home accessories sales also grew.
BRC’s chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Overall, flat total sales mask a very mixed picture; some retailers benefiting from the healthy housing market, while others are evidently more susceptible to the effects of lower consumer confidence and a higher proportion of disposable income going into leisure and entertainment.
“The same trends as March continued, with outerwear, knitted leggings and essentials like socks and underwear continuing to do well, while dresses, shorts and T-shirts showed significant declines.”