Retail news round-up: Tesco Ireland's half-year sales flat, OKA Direct plots expansion after sales leap, Aldi enters fashion price war

Tesco Ireland reveals ‘strong growth’ in online shopping

Tesco's Irish arm posted relatively flat sales of just more than €1.2bn (£1.05bn) for the first half of its financial year (April to September), compared with a decline of 3.7% in the same period last year.

The grocer does not break out its profitability for the Irish market nor the value of its grocery sales alone.

Tesco Ireland attributed the marginal increase in sales to “investment in ‘Staying Down’ prices with improvements in sales volumes, particularly in the important fresh food category, and an increase in the number of customer transactions”.

“We continue to invest significantly in reducing prices for customers through our ‘Staying Down’ campaign,” said Tesco Ireland’s chief executive Andrew Yaxley.

“This is our third successive quarter of positive like-for-like sales and we’re pleased to see strong positive volume growth as a result of our investment in strengthening our customer offer.”

Tesco Ireland said there was “strong growth” in its online shopping business.

OKA Direct eyes expansion as sales jump

Upmarket furniture retailer OKA Direct’s sales surged more than 12% to hit £23.8m in the 52 weeks to January 23, driven by a boost from its home accessories range, This is Money reported.

The furnishings and fragrance company, founded by Samantha Cameron's mother Lady Astor, is planning to expand following the rise in sales.

Lady Astor said: "The company's financial position remains strong and we have a loyal, stable and growing client base."

OKA Direct has also been expanding into interior design, executing projects on luxury homes, including a water tower in London and a chalet in Switzerland.

Aldi takes on Next and H&M

Aldi has launched its own value range of trendy fashion to take on the likes of Next and H&M, the Daily Mirror reported.

Its faux fur gilet is £14.99, a third of Next’s £40 price tag and £15 cheaper than H&M's, which costs £29.99. A supersize tote bag is £12.99 at Aldi, less than half the £26 tag at Next.

Aldi’s quilted jackets are available for £16.99 – which saves £33 on the £50 version at Next and is £23 less than H&M’s £39.99 equivalent.

The discounter's boots, jacket and cotton shirt combo has a 60% price reduction, while leggings are available at £3.99, jeans for £7.99 and capes for £14.99.