Retail news round-up on October 7, 2015: Shop prices fall, Tesco’s ‘secret talks’ with SFO and Dixons Carphone names boss of consultancy business.

Retail Week Breakfast Briefing

Shop prices fall 1.9% in September

High street shop prices plunged harder last month underscoring the weak outlook for zero inflation rate in the UK.

The prices in September slumped 1.9% than a year earlier, a bigger fall than August’s 1.4% decline, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Food prices decreased 0.5%, with non-food prices also falling more quickly, down by 2.9% in September.

“Within food retailing, there is still downward pressure on prices and this is expected to continue as supermarkets battle for the wallets of the Christmas shopper,” said Mike Watkins, head of retailer insight at survey compiler Nielsen.

Tesco in ‘secret discussions’ with SFO over inking DPA

Tesco and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have been understood to be locked in ‘secret talks’ about reaching a deal to settle a criminal investigation into the accounting scandal that rocked the grocer.

The duo are reportedly in discussions about the possibility of signing a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), which would involve a court-approved deal under which the company would admit wrongdoing but avoid any immediate criminal sanctions, according to Sky News.

The talks between the two sides were ongoing but are at a preliminary stage, according to several sources.

Former chief executive Philip Clarke has been interviewed under caution by SFO investigators about ten days ago ‎as part of its probe.

Meanwhile, the supermarket retailer has also said the government’s new “national living wage” will cost the company £500m by 2020, putting further pressure on its profitability.

Dixons Carphone creates new chief executive role at consultancy business

Dixons Carphone has appointed previous Carphone Warehouse’s UK boss Graham Stapleton in the newly created chief executive role at its Connected World Services (CWS) retail and services consultancy division.

Stapleton will lead the growth of this division of the company, which is one of the group’s core strategic priorities, while also managing its key relationship with Sprint Corporation.

Dixons Carphone’s deputy chief executive Andrew Harrison, who previously managed the day-to-day running of CWS, will continue to have oversight of the business, as well as the group’s direct-to-consumer arm and its mobile virtual network operator business.

Jeremy Fennell will replace Stapleton as managing director of Carphone Warehouse in the UK, reporting to Katie Bickerstaffe, UK chief executive of Dixons Group.