Retail news round-up October 21, 2013: M&S loses another womenswear executive, Waitrose targets £15bn sales in 10 years and Tesco opens its first European franchise stores for fashion brand F&F.

Marks & Spencer to lose another womenswear executive

Marks & Spencer development and buying director for womenswear Gillian Ridley Whittle is to leave to join Australian department store group Target. Her exit is a third senior womenswear executive departure in a year.

Ridley Whittle’s departure follows the exit of Janie Schaffer, who was hired to revive the underwear section but left M&S after just three months as director of lingerie and beauty. Schaffer’s exit was followed by the departure of Cathy Haydon, who was head of merchandising, in September.

Ridley Whittle had run lingerie temporarily since Schaffer’s exit in April and recently took up a strategic role in womenswear.

Waitrose targets £15bn sales in 10 years

Waitrose is aiming to triple its sales in the next ten years to become a massive £15bn-a-year business as part of an ambitious growth plan, managing director Mark Price told The Mail.

The grocer will invest £300m annually to open 20 new stores per year and is targeting strong growth in its online business, which soared rose 40.5% in the first half of this year.

Tesco’s F&F opens stores in Switzerland and Gibraltar

Tesco’s clothing brand F&F has opened its first franchise stores in Europe in Switzerland and Gibraltar.

F&F has launched seven new stores in the Zurich area in partnership with Coop, Switzerland’s second biggest retailer. Coop plans to open more stores across the country in the future.

F&F has also opened two stores in Gibraltar, with franchise partner Pisa International. The two stores, which include the first F&F Kids store, enjoyed “record sales “after they opened to the public last week.

Tesco reveals UK families wastes £700 a year throwing away food

Tesco’s first ever food waste figures for its operations revealed that every family in the UK wastes an estimated £700 a year throwing away food. The statistics showed that in the first six months of this year, 28,500 tons of food waste were generated in Tesco stores and distribution centres.

The data shows that 68% of salad sold in bags is thrown out, 35% of it by customers. Tesco also found that 40% of apples are wasted as are just under half of bakery items.

The retailer is launching a campaign to reduce wastage including developing promotions for smaller bags of salad.

French Connection boss criticises business rates

French Connection boss Stephen Marks has criticised the business rates system as “absurd” and called for scraping it entirely. Retailers including Sir Philip Green, Justin King, and Ian Cheshire have also backed a business rates overhaul to help protect the high street.

Marks also told The Daily Telegraph that shop rent rates are even more damaging to Britain’s high streets criticising landlords for constant price rises.

The retail tycoon, who founded French Connection in 1972, plans to close 15 stores as part of a radical overhaul of the retail chain but he’s only been able to close a handful so far because of tough demands by landlords.

Asos to launch its own house band

Fashion brand Asos has launched its own house band and introduced an in house musical offering in a hope to win the hearts, ears and pursestrings of Asos shoppers.

Over the next two months visitors to Asos will be able to hear the house band duo ‘Man Like Me’, made up of Peter Duffy and Johnny Langer.

Over the coming weeks the house band will be launch a series of tongue-in-cheek songs that take a look at things like the joys of a fashion face-off (‘Frock Off’), celebrity worship (‘Me, My Girl and Ryan (Gosling)’) and finding loose change down the back of the couch (‘Found A Pound’), according to The Daily Mail.

Asos and Debenhams set to post results this week

Fashion retailer Asos is set to announce its results on Wednesday and analysts expects full-year pre-tax profits to surge 21% to £54m. Analysts attribute its increased profits to international growth and more shoppers heading online.

The etailer is expanding rapidly internationally and last month said it could achieve its goal of £1 billion in annual sales early next year.

Debenhams is set to report its results on Thursday and is expected to post profits of £155m for the year, a fall of 1.8%.

Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group is expected to post first-half profit of £21.2m, up 18% on the same period a year earlier.