Retail news round-up on October 3, 2014: Sports Direct ups Debs stake, John Lewis’ sales surge, Dunelm sales soar, Ted Baker expands into tall and cycling clothes.

Retail Week's Breakfast Briefing

Sports Direct ups Debenhams stake

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has upped its stake in Debenhams by a further 4.6%, just days after it put a £43m bet on Tesco.

The sportswear retailer paid £33m for 56m shares yesterday, taking its total holding Debenhams to 11.22%.

Sports Direct, which is rolling out concessions in Debenhams, said: “As previously announced, Sports Direct is already working together with Debenhams and looks forward to building this relationship.”

John Lewis sales surge due to promotional activity

John Lewis sales surged 14.9% to £80.2m in the week to September 27 as its Price Match activity drove strong trade.

Fashion sales were up 17.3%, benefitting from the promotional activity, but the unseasonably warm weather meant that customers have not fully moved to winter season products like outerwear, it said.

Meanwhile, Waitrose sales jumped 7.6%, excluding petrol, to £121.8m, helped by the Ryder Cup.

Dunelm sales soar in first quarter

Homewares retailer Dunelm like-for-likes jumped 8.9% in its first quarter.

Total sales surged 17% to £180.6m during the 13 weeks to September 28.

However, Dunelm highlighted that the strong performance was pitched against weak comparatives last year when the unusually warm weather subdued footfall.

Gross margin increased 40 basis points over the period.

Ted Baker expands into tall and cycling ranges

Ted Baker has expanded into taller ranges and cycling clothes as its audio range launched this week

The retailer launched its T for Tall range last month online, which fits 6’3 to 6’6ft men,  along with its ‘Raising the Handle Bars’ cycling range.

Ted Baker boss Ray Kelvin said there was potential to extend the brand across many product areas.