Retail news round-up on December 21, 2015: Sir Ken Morrison builds £6m stake in Sainsbury’s and Panic Saturday entices 12m shoppers to the high street.

Veteran Morrisons founder acquires stake in rival supermarket Sainsbury’s

Ex-Morrisons chairman has taken a stake in supermarket group Sainsbury’s, giving its boss Mike Coupe his public support, The Times reported.

Sir Ken Morrison has built a £6m stake in the rival grocer, according to the filings.

“It is a well-run company,” Sir Ken said. He declined to comment on whether he had built stakes in any other retailers.

John Lewis boss argues against transaction tax

John Lewis managing director Andy Street has said that he did not think a transaction tax is the right answer to the burden caused by the business rates system.

Street said “Business rates are currently a tax on property, and property is the way retailers have made money historically and what we are looking for is a reflection of the future”.

He said the plans to overhaul the business rates system has to “reflect how businesses work now” and had to go further than the devolution proposals.

Shoppers hit UK high street on Panic Saturday

‘Panic Saturday’ drove 12m British shoppers to the high street, with retailers lowering prices by up to 50% to lure more customers through the doors.

Smartwatches and ‘fitness trackers’ topped the buying list as desperate shoppers scramble for last-minute Christmas deals.

Independent retail analyst Richard Hyman said: “Most of the sales we’re seeing aren’t planned and aren’t strategic — they are tactical responses to competition that only the really strong players with strong brands and price relationships with their customers can avoid.”

Meanwhile, customers in Scotland spent up to £200m on Panic Saturday. Shopping centres garnered huge profits as an estimated 1.5m people bought last-minute Christmas presents.