Retail news round-up on March 9, 2015: Boss in charge of in-store dining at Tesco steps down, Ex-BHS director joins bid to buy chain from Sir Philip Green, Morrisons’ ex-chief Dalton Philips to receive £3m in pay-off

Boss in charge of in-store dining at Tesco steps down

Michael Holmes, the chief executive of new food experiences at Tesco, has stepped down.

Holmes was the head of a division that included restaurant chain Giraffe, coffee shop Harris + Hoole, Euphorium bakeries, and Decks, the in-store restaurant that was created by Tesco. Last June, he was also put in charge of Dobbies garden centres and the One Stop convenience stores. He served as a director at a string of Tesco’s businesses, including Tesco Family Dining Limited, which ran Decks, Harris & Hoole, Euphorium, Giraffe and Dobbies, according to The Telegraph.

Ex-BHS director joins bid to buy chain from Sir Philip Green

A former lieutenant of Sir Philip Green has joined Alteri Investors, which is considering a bid to acquire high street retailer BHS from billionaire Sir Philip Green. Tony Brown, an ex-senior director at the struggling department store chain, is working with the fund that is backed by Apollo, the private equity giant, according to the Sunday Times. It is understood talks have been on-going with Alteri and Brown for some time, though a deal is likely to still take several weeks to agree and the discussions could fall apart over price.

Morrisons’ ex-chief Dalton Philips to receive £3m in pay-off

Former Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips is poised to pocket a £3m pay-off, despite presiding over a collapse in profits in the past two years. Ousted Philips will receive the bumper package inclusive of more than half-a-million pounds in bonus payments this week when the grocer reveals its slump in profits, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The payments due under his contract – and severance negotiation – include a car allowance, an iPad and iPhone, as well as 12 months’ salary, pension contributions and medical cover, giving him £99,000 a month until January 2016. The company has also agreed to pay more than £25,000 in legal and advisory fees that he incurred during his severance negotiations. Philips could also receive a bonus estimated to be more than £1m this year after his personal targets were reset in line with the reduced internal profit forecasts.

M&S to offer discounted gift card instead of dividend pay-out

Marks & Spencer shareholders are to be offered a discounted gift card instead of a dividend payment as part of an overhaul of the perks the high street retailer offers to its investors. Registered individual investors will now be able to exchange the cash they receive from their annual dividend payment for an in-store gift card, according to The Telegraph. The card will be offered at a 10% discount to face-value and be able to hold £1,000. This means that a shareholder could swap a £900 dividend payment for an M&S gift card worth £1,000.

It is understood to be the first time that a major British company has offered to reward its shareholders in such a way. The clothing firm is introducing the M&S Shareholder Card’ scheme with Equiniti, a company which manages shareholder registers. Shoppers will be able to use the card in M&S stores and online, but it will be exclusive to M&S shareholders.

MPs demands answer from Mike Ashley over unavailability

MPs have called for Mike Ashley to provide a detailed explanation as to why he cannot attend a select committee hearing after the Sports Direct founder rejected their request. The Scottish Affairs Committee called Ashley to answer questions about the closure of factory in Scotland that cost 200 jobs, placing 28 USC stores into administration, and his use of zero-hours contracts.

However, Ashley has told MPs that he is “unavailable” during March and Keith Hellawell, the chairman of Sports Direct, is set to be appear instead. Ian Davidson, chair of the committee, insists he still wants Mr Ashley, the executive deputy chairman of Sports Direct, to appear.

John Lewis to break into Singapore    

John Lewis is to launch into Singapore as part of plans to export to 15 countries over the next few years. The retailer has signed a deal to open concessions in two Robinsons department stores in the city-state in July. They will be run by Robinsons staff and mostly sell homewares under the John Lewis brand.