Retail news round-up on March 27, 2014: Bhs reaches new food deal; Jacques Vert names new multichannel director, CBI figures show UK recovery slow, Uniqlo plans Canadian stores, Carphone Warehouse to sell MVNO stake

Sir Philip Green’s BHS reaches new food venture deal with wholesaler Booker

Cash-and-carry wholesaler Booker has signed a deal to supply Sir Philip Green’s Bhs outlets with new Foodstore concept, according to Retail Newsagent magazine. Sir Philip will pilot a Bhs food range in the Staines and Warrington stores. If successful, he aims to roll out a food offer to up to 150 stores.

Booker will supply the shops in Staines and Warrington and will have the option to supply up to 50 shops. It is understood that Booker will provide Bhs with its Family Shopper range, which is designed for discount stores and independent retailers.

Jacques Vert Group names Rose Foster as multichannel director

British fashion house and womenswear concession retailer Jacques Vert Group has appointed Rose Foster as its multi-channel director, Drapers reported. Foster started in the role last week and succeeds John Hobson, following his retirement. She has joined the womenswear business group from Dutch fashion firm Mexx, where she was in an interim post. She is a former Monsoon Accessorize, Animal and La Senza chief executive.

CBI’s latest insight shows UK recovery pace slow in March

According to business lobby group CBI’s figures, the recovery pace in the UK decelerated to an eight-month low in March. However, the outlook was brightened by forecasts from other organisations of increasing pay across the UK economy. The latest insight by the CBI into the private sector revealed weaker growth in all sectors; however, the slowdown was most pronounced among companies in the services and retail industries. Of over 600 firms surveyed for the CBI’s growth indicator, a balance of +19% said output was up, down from +32% in February and the lowest level since July last year. Companies were feeling optimistic however, with growth expected to accelerate in the coming quarter.

Uniqlo plans Canadian stores in 2016

According to sources, Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo is in negotiations to open outlets in Canada in 2016, Financial Post reported. The retailer is negotiating a deal to lease a 35,000-square foot space in north Toronto’s high-traffic Yorkdale mall, industry sources said. “The negotiations are pretty advanced,” said one source familiar with the talks, who added Uniqlo is considering opening both mall-based and street-front outlets in this market.

Carphone Warehouse plans to sell stake in MVNO Omea Telecom

Mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse Group is reportedly looking to divest its stake in French MVNO Omea Telecom, according to French newspaper Le Figaro. The article says that the company’s decision has impelled its partner Virgin Group to consider its own investment in the company.

It is reported that the owners initially offered their shares to SFR, upon whose network Virgin Mobile piggybacks, although negotiations between the two sides stalled over price. Although the introduction of a new strategic partner has been mooted, Virgin Group is also said to be examining staging an IPO of MVNO’s shares.