Retail news round-up on January 7, 2016: Ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy eyes potential bid for Home Retail, and Sports Direct takes 9% stake in Umbro owner.

Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy eyes Argos owner

Ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy is eyeing a potential bid for Home Retail Group, The Times reported.

Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), where Sir Terry is a consultant, ‘run the numbers’ over the owner of Argos and Homebase late last year.

It is still unclear if Sir Terry and the US private equity group will enter the race to acquire Home Retail Group.

Meanwhile, Home Retail's third largest investor, Old Mutual, has said that it is confident that Sainsbury's will come back with a higher bid. Another shareholder, Toscafund, has expressed its disappointment with the board rejecting Sainsbury’s advances without consulting the largest shareholders.

Sports Direct revives interest in Umbro owner with 9% stake

Sports Direct has snapped up an indirect economic interest of 9%, or 4.3 million shares, in troubled US brand management company Iconix Brand Group.

The Mike Ashley-owned sports retailer has invested in the Umbro owner through contracts for difference and does not have the power to vote or direct the vote or the power to dispose or direct the disposition of any of the shares, according to a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sports Direct built the stake throughout November and December, which was a tough period for Iconix.

M&S aims to boost size of food halls

Marks & Spencer has started trialling larger food halls as it looks to reduce the floor space devoted to clothing as its fashion sales continue to slump.

The retailer will increase the size of floorspace at eight stores for its upmarket food range over the next six months.

M&S is also exploring how many more could be rejigged to bolster its struggling sales and profit performance.