Retail news round-up on April 7, 2014: Sir Tom Hunter offloads 11% stake in House of Fraser to Mike Ashley, The Co-op breaks into mobile phone market, mulls stock market listing and supermarkets told to move away from ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ offers

Sir Tom Hunter offloads 11% stake in House of Fraser to Mike Ashley

Scottish retail tycoon Sir Tom Hunter has offloaded his 11% stake in department store chain House of Fraser to Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley. Ashley’s 11% stake purchase, which is understood to have been completed on March 27, could be challenged by other shareholders.

Sir Tom told the Financial Times: “Why did we sell our shares to Sports Direct? They offered certainty of cash today, and we balanced that up against what we considered was a highly conditional offer from the Chinese.” Among those conditions, said Sir Tom, was approval required from the Chinese government. “There was all sorts of conditionality. It wasn’t just that [the government’s approval]. It was a huge list. That was our assessment at that time,” said Sir Tom.

Co-op breaks into mobile phone market with own branded products

The Co-operative Group is making an entry into the mobile phone market by launching its first own-brand pay as you go SIM card. The service is being launched in partnership with The Phone Co-op. The Co-operative Mobile pay as you go will become available in more than 3,800 Co-operative Food stores across the country. It will offer low-cost national and international rates, transparent pricing and extensive UK coverage in a single SIM card. mulls stock market listing co-founder Brent Hoberman-backed online retailer is considering a stock market flotation, The Sunday Times reported. It is understood that has held talks City advisers in recent weeks about a possible share offering. The site seeks new capital to accelerate its European expansion. It is learnt that the site has not made a final decision on whether to go public and could opt to raise new money from venture capital investors.

Supermarkets told to move away from ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ offers

A House of Lords committee has said that supermarkets should scrap offers like ‘buy one get one free’ to help end the ‘morally repugnant’ waste of millions of tonnes of food, The Guardian reported. The Lords EU committee also said big retailers should stop cancelling orders of food from farmers after the produce had been grown, a practice that leads to edible food being ploughed back into the fields. The report by the Lords also said more unused food should be donated to food banks rather than sent for composting or landfill.