Retail news round-up on June 3, 2015: Morrisons increases its quarterly sales, prices in UK shops drop 1.9% and House of Fraser updates its app.

Prices in British shop prices down almost 2% in May

UK shop prices slumped 1.9% year-on-year last month. According to BRC/ Nielsen figures, food prices declined 0.9% in May, with fresh food prices in particular plunging 1.9%, their sharpest fall since 2006.

“Retailers continue to use price cuts and promotions to stimulate sales which is helping to maintain shop price deflation, and we see little evidence to suggest that prices will rise in the near future,” said Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at survey compiler Nielsen.

Home Retail hands ex-boss £3.37m of total pay

Former Home Retail chief executive Terry Duddy was awarded a total pay-out of £3.37m during his final few months in the job, according to the group’s annual report. Duddy received his salary and benefits until July, netting him £365,000 after he had stepped down from the board. He also made £2.95m as shares vested under a long-term incentive plan.

House of Fraser overhauls iPhone app first time since launch

House of Fraser has overhauled its iPhone app for the first time since its launch to concentrate more on personalisation and speedier check out. This comes as the retailer attributed its record sales in 2014 to the 32% rise of its online business.

To drive the app usage, the department store chain has introduced a completely new design to improve the customer journey and facilitate a faster check-out time. It features improved push notifications along with others such as a wish list, barcode scanner and personalised stock locator

Morrisons ‘outperforms’ other ‘Big Four’ rivals

Morrisons increased its quarterly sales for the first time since December 2013 and outperformed its other ‘big four’ rivals, who all suffered falls in a market hit by a price war and deflation, according to new industry data. The grocer saw sales rise 0.1% in the 12 weeks to May 24, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda saw their sales in the same period fall 1.3%, 0.3% and 2.4% respectively. Aldi and Lidl recorded sales growth of 15.7% and 8.8%, the market researcher said, with Lidl’s market share now at a record 3.9%. Tesco’s market share fell 0.4 percentage points in the period.

Wiggle poised to make smarter online ads with facial recognition software

Cycling equipment e-tailer Wiggle has chosen video distribution platform Virool’s eIQ facial recognition software in a bid to optimise its video content and make online ads smarter, The Drum reported. The software works by measuring engagement through facial micro expressions. Once the video advertising is live, users are prompted to participate using their own web cams, where the advert can be viewed across multiple devices.

It then measures the viewer’s emotional reactions to Wiggle’s messaging and creative resonance by tracking key emotions such as joy, disgust, anger and surprise. These emotions are then overlaid against Virool’s data management platform (DMP) that provides demographic and behavioural targeting for increased optimisation.