Retail news round-up December 2, 2013: Lidl targets1,500 new stores, John Lewis sales up 18.4%, M&S vote to strike over retirement scheme closure and HMV cuts back on tablets to focus on core HMV products

Lidl targets UK expansion with up to 1,500 store openings

Discount food retailer Lidl is planning UK expansion that will result in it more than doubling the number of stores in the country, according to The Telegraph. The supermarket wants to expand from 600 outlets at present to up to 1,500. UK managing director Ronny Gottschlich claimed that grocery shopping in the country is entering a ‘new era’, as he said customers who would once be too embarrassed to shop there now see the quality and value of its products.

John Lewis weekly sales up 18.4% over online sales growth

UK’s largest department store chain John Lewis recorded an 18.4% increase in weekly sales, led by a jump in online sales of iPads, televisions and PS4s, and the rising popularity of ‘Black Friday’ discounts, according to Reuters. In the week to November 30, sales climbed to £147m, including a 35.7% rise in online sales. John Lewis estimated that iPads, cashmere and Uggs-branded products will be the most sought products at its online store on today’s ‘Cyber Monday’.

Workers of M&S vote in favour of strike action over final-salary retirement scheme closure

Some 94% of workers at Marks & Spencer in Ireland have voted in favour of strike action over the company’s pension plan schemes, according to The Guardian the strike is planned for December 7 and two further days before Christmas at 17 outlets throughout the country. The Mandate trade union representing most of the firm’s 2,300 staff said the retailer’s move to close the final-salary retirement plan to new and existing staff in favour of a stock-market related scheme was ‘unacceptable’.

HMV reduces some of high-end technology items for core products

HMV’s director Steve West revealed that it is cutting back some of the high-end technology items it sells such as tablets to pave the way for “products which its customers more readily associate with the HMV brand”, the retailer has told PCR. The focus will now be on the core HMV products of music, film and games featuring great chart offers, extraordinary campaign titles and a deep back catalogue. However, the company will continue selling books, headphones and T-shirts, West confirmed.