Retail news round-up on January 9, 2015: Morrisons to sponsor Great North Run, Signet posts Christmas sales rise, Irish retail sales edge up in November.

Retail Week's Breakfast Briefing

Morrisons to sponsor Great North Run

Morrisons has agreed a four-year contract to become the headline sponsor of more than a dozen running events in the UK, according to Sky News. The grocer is understood to have taken over sponsorship of the Great North Run from Bupa. The deal is designed to promote the retailer’s brand and association with healthy living and comes amid intense competition in grocery.

Signet’s UK division shines over Christmas

Jewellery retailer Signet delivered a strong performance at its UK division over Christmas, when in-store and ecommerce sales rose. Sales at H Samuel and Ernest Jones in the eight weeks ending December 27, 2014, were up 9.7% year on year. The former reported sales of $121.7m, and the latter $93.4m.

The UK businesses outperformed the rest of the group. Overall, sales at Signet – which does most of its business in the US - rose 3.6% to $1.85bn. Group ecommerce sales rocketed 90.9%.

Irish retail sales rise in November

Retail sales volumes in Ireland advanced 4.7% in November compared to the previous year and were 0.2% higher than in October. Excluding car sales, volumes were up 3.6% year-on-year according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.