Retail news round-up on December 19, 2013: Marks & Spencer to launch flash Sale, Target shoppers’ data stolen, Brown Thomas to invest in stores and Betta Living to launch virtual shop.

M&S to launch flash Sale across stores

Marks & Spencer is planning for a flash Sale across its outlets on December 21, joining the throng of retailers trying to lure shoppers on to the high street before Christmas, The Independent reported. The high street stalwart has also slashed prices on knitwear and its Per Una line by 30% in recent days. It has, thus far avoided such flash Sale days.

40 million shoppers’ bank data at risk due to data breach at Target

US retailer Target has said about 40 million credit and debit cards might have been compromised by a data breach at the height of the holiday shopping season, Sky News reported. Shoppers who made purchases using their cards at the retail chain’s outlets between November 27 and December 15 may have been exposed, the retailer said.

The stolen information includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards. The company said it notified authorities and financial institutions as soon as it became aware of the breach, and that it is working with a third-party forensics firm to investigate the matter.

Brown Thomas to spend up to €9m in 2014 in refurbishment

Irish retailer Brown Thomas is planning to spend up to €9m in 2014 revamping the ground floor of its flagship department store in Dublin’s Grafton Street, managing director Stephen Sealey told The Irish Times. The upmarket retailer also plans to make an investment of about €850,000 for expanding its online offering in 2014 summer. Brown Thomas intends to add handbags to its online range in February 2014, followed by shoes, sunglasses and certain fashion items later in 2014.

It will also offer shoppers a click-and-collect service that will allow them to pick up their items in store. Sealey said that the firm’s aim is to have about 50% of the store available online by the middle of 2014. He expects sales to grow by 3 or 4% in the current year although a lot will depend on sales over the next two weeks.

Betta Living launches virtual store shopping online

Bathroom and kitchen retailer Betta Living is to launch an innovative new tool on its website that allows customers to shop a virtual version of one of its stores. On Monday the 23-store retailer, which also supplies fitted kitchens to Next, will become the first retailer to use the technology.

Technology provider TourDash, which is endorsed by Google, has created a photo-mapped virtual tour of Betta Living’s showrooms. It has yet to decide which store it will use for the new tool.