Retail round-up on April 21, 2016: Conforama snaps up 19.5% of French retailer Darty and Wickes poised to cut prices to compete with Homebase.

Steinhoff’s French unit Conforama picks up 19.5% stake in UK-listed Darty

Steinhoff International’s Conforama unit has bought a 19.5% stake in UK-listed electronics retailer Darty at 138p per share from Majedie Asset Management, Schroder Investment Management, Standard Life Investments and UBS Asset Management.

South African retail group Steinhoff said that its French subsidiary has also increased its existing cash bid for shares it does not already own in Darty.

The improved offer values the French white-goods chain at £742m.

Wickes to reduce prices to ward off competition from Wesfarmers

DIY retailer Wickes is poised to slash prices as it prepares to thwart competition from rival Homebase’s new Australian owner, Wesfarmers.

The chain, owned by Travis Perkins, is now readying to face Wesfarmers, which acquired Homebase from Home Retail Group in February for £340m.

Travis Perkins chief executive John Carter said: “I’m not against good competition as it helps to drive the market forward… Competition is going to heat up, but we think we have a good plan. If we have to adjust and invest a little bit in price we are willing to do that.”