Retail news round-up on May 13, 2014: Easter boosts retail sales, Midcounties Co-op backs reform plan, Asda ecommerce boss moves to Walmart and discounter grocers gain ground in Ireland.

British retail sales bounces back in April with 4.2% surge

Retail sales in Britain rebounded with 4.2% increase in April from the previous month boosted by the timing of Easter, according to British Retail Consortium/KPMG retail sales index.  

Consumers also increased their spending particularly on home improvements and decoration. Sales rose 2.8% on a year-on-year basis. Spending on furniture and flooring grew at its fastest rate since Easter 2006. The value of food sales dropped as the UK’s major supermarkets continued to slash prices to take on the growth of hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. Clothing and footwear fared well over the spring, driven by the milder weather than last year.

Midcounties backs reform plan tabled by Lord Myners

UK’s biggest independent Co-operative, the Midcounties, has voted in favour of the sweeping reforms tabled last week by Lord Myners, The Guardian reported. This has intensified pressure on the Co-operative Group to overhaul its board.

The overwhelming vote by more than 400 members of the Midcounties Co-operative society comes just before a crunch ballot on the four crucial reforms at the Co-op Group’s annual meeting on Saturday in Manchester. Midcounties backs a resolution that will mean the Co-op’s board is elected by and accountable to members, as well as the introduction of a one-member one-vote system, and a mechanism to protect the group from a forced demutualisation.

Asda ecommerce director Kieran Shanahan starts new role at Walmart

Kieran Shanahan, ecommerce director at Asda, has begun a new role at parent company Walmart as vice president of e-commerce operations, The Grocer reported. Gavin Chappell, former supply chain director at the UK retailer, has replaced Shanahan.

Aldi and Lidl now command combined 17.1% share of Irish grocery market

German rivals Aldi and Lidl are now gaining ground with a combined 17.1% share of multi-billion euro grocery retail market in Ireland, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s latest supermarket data.

Aldi has snatched an 8% share of the Irish grocery market for the first time. In the 12 weeks to April 27, which includes the crucial Easter trading period, Aldi’s share of the market in Ireland climbed 22.2% to 8%, while Lidl’s surged 12.2% to 7.6%.

Tesco has retained its top ranking, but it remains under intense pressure. Its share of the grocery market slipped 4.1% to 26.3%. Dunnes Stores’ position further weakened, with share plunging 1.3% to 21.6%. SuperValu’s share of the market, which includes its now rebranded Superquinn chain, edged up 0.5% to 25.1%, confirming its second place in the supermarket wars.