Retail news round-up: September retail sales slump, Next founder calls for more women in top roles and Walmart mulls stake in India's Flipkart.

Next founder calls for more females in top roles

Next founder George Davies has said more women need to be hired for top jobs in British fashion as they have "more vision than men", The Guardian reported.

The veteran retailer said this move would help boost the high street.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, Davies said: “If there was better representation of them [women] in executive teams, maybe the high street wouldn’t be struggling as much as it is.

“[Women] work quicker and harder than men. The retail industry needs people who visit stores and understand customers and that’s why I think the gender mix on executive boards should be at least equal.”

Retailers report weaker than expected September sales

High street retail sales balance plunged to -8 in September from a high of +9 in August, indicating that shoppers took a breather after robust spending over the summer and through the second quarter.

Grocery, leather as well as food and drink sales fell despite good weather in much of the UK, according to the CBI distributive trades survey.

Steady sales of clothing, footwear and DIY goods kept the tills ringing enough for a balance of +7% of retailers to say that their sales volumes in September were good for the time of year.

IHS Global Insight chief UK economist Howard Archer said: “The softer CBI distributive trades survey for September could be a sign that consumers are becoming more careful in their spending amid a more uncertain economic outlook following June’s Brexit vote.

Walmart eyes stake in Indian etailer Flipkart

Walmart is reportedly in discussions to acquire a stake in Indian online retailer Flipkart in a bid to slow start its ecommerce investment, according to the Financial Times.

The talks are thought to be at a preliminary stage, said two people with knowledge of the discussions.