Retail round-up: Sports Direct staff injuries higher than average, Apple’s Chinese investment and Karen Millen loses battle to use her name.
Trade Union calls on Sports Direct to address staff injuries
The injury rate among Sports Direct’s warehouse staff is “significantly” higher than the industry average, according to the retailer’s annual report.
Trade unions have urged the sports retailer's shareholders to vote in favour of a review into how it treats its staff, Sky News reported.
According to the TUC, there are 6.6 injuries per 100,000 hours worked among Sports Direct's warehouse staff – nearly triple the typical rate in the agriculture sector, widely regarded as one of the least safe industries for workers.
In its retail, office and distribution division, there are 2.7 injuries per 100,000 hours worked compared with the average of 1.4 across the rest of the industry.
Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “Sports Direct has shown a consistent disregard for the wellbeing of its staff. These abysmal figures show that the company is performing far worse than other companies in the same sector.”
Karen Millen fails to regain rights to use brand name for business
Karen Millen has lost a High Court battle with her old company as she failed to regain the rights to use her name for future business ventures, The Times reported.
The fashion designer sold the retail chain to Icelandic investor Baugur for £95m in 2004.
Millen challenged the agreement after Baugur’s collapse during the financial crisis and the subsequent restructuring of Karen Millen Holdings.
However, the High Court judge ruled that it would breach the original sale agreement and said it was “hard to see” how using the name would not be confusing.
Apple to set up first Asia-Pacific research and development centre in China
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said the retailer is set to increase its investment in China as demand for its flagship iPhones has plunged in the country, Reuters reported.
The US tech giant plans to build its first Asia-Pacific research and development centre in China by the end of the year, Cook told Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, one of China's most senior officials.
The centre will bring together Apple's engineering and operations teams in China and also aims to deepen its ties to partners and universities, it said in a statement.
TK Maxx owner TJX posts “slightly lower” UK sales in second quarter
Off-price retailer TJX reported “slightly lower” second-quarter sales in the UK, Reuters reported.
The TK Maxx owner said comparable store sales increased 4% in the three months ended July 30 as more bargain-hungry shoppers visited the group's stores.
Sales at stores that have been open at least a year rose for the 30th straight quarter.
Chief financial officer Scott Goldenberg said “trends leading up to the Brexit vote were very strong" and that he “believes we are gaining significant market share in this environment”.
The US-based company's net income surged 2.3% to $562.2m (£434m), or 84 cents per share.
Net sales rose 7% to $7.88bn (£6.05bn) during the period.