Retail news round-up on April 20, 2015: Lord Myners hits out at Nisa’s governance, Tesco plans major pension investment, Co-op says it cannot fully commit to Fairtrade and more.

Lord Myners’ review hits out at Nisa Retail governance

Former City minister Lord Myners has heavily criticised the board and management of Nisa Retail in a review report sent to its 1200 members. The peer has called for ‘fundamental change’ at the convenience store buying group, according to Herald Scotland. Myners, who was asked to review the group in February, highlighted ‘broken governance’, poor decision making and a breakdown of trust between members and the administration of the group in the report.

HMV reclaims title as top music retailer in UK

HMV has reclaimed its crown as the UK’s top music retailer as physical music sales across the sector surged by almost £10m in the first quarter of 2015, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Resurgence in sales of CDs and records has helped shops win share back from ecommerce rivals, reports The Daily Mail.

Tesco plans £250m investment in pension scheme

Tesco is expected to pump around £250m every year into its huge pension scheme in a move to plug a black hole, The Telegraph reported. This attempt will put further pressure on the stretched finances of the grocer. The supermarket giant is also poised to report an annual loss of as much as £5bn on Wednesday - its worst performance in the near-100-year history. 

Meanwhile, chairman John Allan has said big businesses could be driven from Britain by the uncertainty surrounding a referendum on European Union membership. Allan told the Independent that the perception of a risk of the UK leaving the EU could have an impact on businesses’ willingness to invest.

Over 1,000 UK suppliers in ‘financial distress’

The number of food and beverage makers in ‘significant’ financial distress has increased 94% to 1,414 in the last year. According to findings from Begbies Traynor, the suppliers to the UK’s supermarkets face collapse as the price war takes its toll on the grocery industry.

Small businesses in distress have grown by 120% to 1,267. The number of food retailers in financial trouble has surged 66% year-on-year to 4,696 businesses, reports The Telegraph.

Co-op says ‘cannot fully commit’ to Fairtrade

The Co-operative Group has told its members that it cannot make an enhanced commitment to stock Fairtrade products owing to tough competition among supermarkets and its shift towards convenience stores.

The UK’s largest mutual made the remarks in response to a motion tabled ahead of the upcoming annual general meeting asking for the commitment to Fairtrade, reports The Guardian.

Saying it could not back all elements of the motion, the board blamed the current financial position of the group and “the austere market climate we continue to face and the strategic direction of the business into convenience shops which naturally increases pressure on space and range”.