Retail news round-up on June 9, 2014: Tesco Ireland hires former Aldi executive, EE assures Carphone Warehouse over plans to sell direct, Primark poised to sign for Pavilions shopping centre, Farmfoods sales surge but profits fall.

Tesco Ireland picks former Aldi executive for its Fresh Food section

Malachy O’Connor, the former Aldi executive has been named as the director for  fresh food commercial category at Tesco Ireland. He will be responsible for all of Tesco’s fresh food purchases including fresh, chilled, dairy and bakery produce.

At Aldi, O’ Connor was the buying and marketing director for six years before he joined Tesco in 2014.

EE’s assurance to Carphone Warehouse over retail tie

Amid Carphone’s concerns over EE’s recent plans to sell directly to its customers, EE came forward to clear the air stating that Carphone is a long-standing and important partner and that it hasn’t reached any decision yet and the discussions regarding the distribution strategy is still in process, the Express reported.

EE said: “We announced a review of our distribution strategy a few months ago and this process is on-going with discussions continuing with all relevant parties, including Carphone Warehouse who are a long-standing and important partner.”

Primark poised to sign £60m deal for Pavilions shopping centre

Discount retailer Primark’s plans to buy the Pavilions shopping centre based in Birmingham for as much as £60m, the Telegraph reported. The plans were revealed by Retail Week last year. Primark wants to turn the entire mall into one of the country’s largest Primark stores. Primark would be buying the shopping centre from the UBS Triton Property Fund. A deal is expected to be confirmed within days. Property agent Kitchen La Frenais Morgan acted on the deal.

Farmfoods sales surge but profits fall

Farmfoods has generated sales up more than a fifth but pre-tax profits have almost halved. The frozen food retailer posted sales up 21.2% to £721.4m in the year to December 28, according to documents filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit slumped 44% to £15.1m. Farmfoods said its staff costs had risen in the year as it increased the number of employees by almost a third. The retailer said high energy costs were a concern due to the cost of powering freezers, according to the Telegraph.

Billionaire Christo Wiese prepares for UK retail assault

South African billionaire Christo Wiese has set up a British shell company as he is poised to launch a series of retail takeovers, it is understood. The company is trading under the name Pepkor UK after Wiese’s retail investment group Pepkor, which owns retail chains overseas, according to the Daily Mail. The British division is being led by former Asda boss Andy Bond and his business partner Mark Elliott.