Retail news round-up on April 30, 2015:, Sainsbury’s, CBI retail figures and more in talks for £20m funding deal

Online furniture chain is in advanced discussions with French investment firm Partech Ventures about a potential deal that could possibly see the latter investing approximately £20m to support the retailer’s expansion. A final agreement was not yet certain, talks were progressing well and an announcement could be made within weeks, Sky News reported citing two people close to the situation. This prospective capital injection in the business is expected to indicate that an initial public offering is still some way off.

Unexpected ease of growth in April retail sales 

UK retail sales balance fell to +12 in April, with growth easing unexpectedly. The Confederation of British Industry’s industry survey found that sales grew across most types of retailers, but sales among grocers declined, hitting overall growth. Reuters reported.

Sainsbury’s refutes allegations against boss Mike Coupe

UK grocer Sainsbury’s has denied all allegations against its chief executive Mike Coupe after it emerged he was sentenced in absentia last September to two years in an Egyptian jail after being found guilty of embezzlement. The retailer also said he was not employed by the company at the time of the original business deal in 2001, having not joined until 2004, and had never met the complainant, who it named as El-Nasharty.

“We are aware of media coverage today outlining a legal case in Egypt brought against our CEO, Mike Coupe,” Sainsbury’s said in a statement. “This relates to a historic commercial dispute in which Mike Coupe had no involvement and we strongly refute all the allegations.”

British year-ahead inflation expectations ease back in April

UK’s inflation expectations in the next 12 months declined to 1.1% in April from 1.4% in March, according to monthly Citi/YouGov poll. Expectations for inflation over the next five to 10 years slipped to 2.6% from 2.8%, matching the record low set in January, Reuters reported.

“Nevertheless, the drop in inflation expectations, plus weakness in core inflation and pay growth, reinforces the sense that the (Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee) is in no rush to hike rates,” he said.