Retail news round-up on August 20, 2014: Shop Direct to release transactional apps; British inflation down and Harris + Hoole close coffee shops.

Retail Week's Breakfast Briefing

Shop Direct to release transactional apps across range of brands

UK multi-brand online retailer Shop Direct will release transactional apps in the forthcoming months across its range of brands. The company’s e-commerce director Jonathan Wall, speaking to The Drum, said that until now it had focused on honing the mobile web journey and made do with the non-transactional, catalogue apps for the Isme,, and Littlewoods brands.

Wall refused to reveal any further detail or confirm which of its brands would have apps launch this year, but did reveal that the designs are in the process of being tested at its in-house UX lab and should be ready within the next four to six weeks.

British inflation down 1.6% in July

According to Office for National Statistics data, annual inflation rate in the UK declined more sharply than expected in July, driven primarily by greater summer price discounting among clothing retailers. The consumer prices index (CPI) dropped to 1.6% last month from 1.9% in June, marking the seventh straight month that inflation has recorded below the Bank of England’s 2% target. Clothing and footwear prices slumped by 5.7% between June and July against a smaller slip of 3.2% during the same period last year.

Harris + Hoole to close six coffee shops

Tesco-backed coffee shop chain Harris + Hoole is to shut down six café shops, including one concession in a Tesco supermarket in Highbury, London, raising questions about its performance. Harris + Hoole’s co-founder Nick Tolley said the chain still had the ‘full support’ of Tesco. The outlets that will close include locations in Hounslow and Walton-on-Thames.