Retail news round-up on March 14, 2014: Argos owner Home Retail gets pulled into PPI scandal, Marks & Spencer casts Doreen Lawrence in ad campaign and Irish consumer prices up 0.5% in February

Home Retail dragged into PPI mis-selling scandal

Argos owner Home Retail Group has reserved a £25m provision after being pulled into the scandal surrounding mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI) policies, The Times reported. The insurance claims dated from 2000 relate to goods like bathrooms and stereo systems purchased on credit through Home Retail Group’s Financial Services business in Homebase and Argos.

The £25m provision equates to 25% of the retailer’s profit this year. A total of £22bn have been set aside by the UK’s banks to compensate customers who were sold insurance they did not need or on which they could not claim.

M&S casts Doreen Lawrence to feature in ad campaign

UK high street retailer Marks & Spencer is rumoured to have signed Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, to appear in its next advertising campaign alongside actress Emma Thompson and singer Annie Lennox, according to reports in Sun newspaper. Lawrence is said to have been photographed by Annie Leibovitz, whose portraits of celebrities regularly feature on the cover of glossy magazine Vanity Fair.

CSO says Irish consumer prices up 0.5% in February

The consumer price index (CPI) in Ireland increased 0.5% on the month in February to stand 0.1% lower than a year ago according to the official figures from Central Statistics Office (CSO), Reuters reported. The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), which strips out mortgages, went up 0.6% on the month and was 0.1% higher on an annual basis.