Retail news round-up on October 20, 2014: Tesco investigation finds evidence of a cover-up; warm weather hurts footfall;Wolseley eyes return to retail with Better Bathrooms acquisition and more.

Retail Week's Breakfast Briefing

Tesco’s accounting probe finds cover-up evidence

The probe into Tesco’s £250m phantom profits has found evidence of a cover-up as the supermarket’s commercial team struggled to meet targets. Tesco is likely to say it has discovered a pattern of ‘inappropriate’ behaviour when it reports delayed first-half results this Thursday.

The Sunday Times understands that an investigation by the accountant Deloitte, and the law firm Freshfields has established that staff came under severe pressure as sales fell. Those involved are said to have acted in an attempt to save their jobs, not for personal gain.

Meanwhile, Tesco executives in South Korea potentially face prosecution over allegations that the retailer’s Korean arm Homeplus sold on the ‘personal information’ of more than five million customers to insurance companies. A number of executives have already been asked not to leave the country, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Warm weather hurts British high street footfall in September

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard, UK retail footfall slipped by 0.9% last month, including 0.6% on the high street and 2.6% at shopping centres due to warmer than average weather. The number of visitors at out-of-town retail parks increased in spite of the fall in overall footfall.

Wolseley eyes Better Bathrooms acquisition

FTSE 100 building materials group Wolseley is exploring a possible £100m bid for online and high street retailer Better Bathrooms, The Telegraph reported. Wolseley’s interest in the company will come as a surprise, because it is only four years since the company sold its high street bath retailer Bathstore. Corporate finance house DC Advisory has been appointed to field interest from potential suitors.

Mulberry poaches Céline’s Johnny Coca for creative director

Luxury handbag maker Mulberry is thought to have tapped a designer from the French fashion house Céline as it seeks a saviour, The Sunday Times reported. The brand is believed to have approached Céline’s head of leather goods and accessories Johnny Coca to become its new creative director.

Nisa appoints EY to investigate data leak

Convenience store retailer Nisa Retail has called in the accountancy giant EY to probe an embarrassing leak of members’ data on the eve of its annual meeting, The Sunday Times reported. The supplier has promised to track down the source of a spreadsheet that contained shareholders’ addresses, phone numbers and online passwords that circulated ahead of the annual meeting last month. EY’s work is being overseen by the chairman Christopher Baker.