Retail news round-up on February 24, 2014: Co-op hails ‘phenomenal’ response to public poll, Primark sales rise in first half and SSP eyes London listing.

Co-op hails ‘phenomenal’ response to public poll

A phenomenal response has been hailed by the Co-operative Group to its ground-breaking poll asking the public to help decide how it should reorganise and modernise. Group chief executive Euan Sutherland said more than 80,000 people had responded to its Have Your Say survey since its launch.

It invites clients, members and the public to give their say on issues including how the Co-op should share its profits and how it can improve services. The findings of the survey will be shared at The Co-operative AGM in May and will be published online.

Primark sales rise in first half

Like-for-like sales at Primark rose 4% in the first half buoyed by a strong Christmas performance. The retailer today reported that sales were 13% up at constant currency rates in the half to March 1. Sales have also been driven by an increase in retail selling space and superior sales densities in the larger new stores, the retailer said.

Primark said: “Operating profit margin is now expected to be higher than in the same period last year, benefiting from warehouse and distribution efficiencies and lower freight rates.”

SSP eyes £2bn London float

SSP, the franchise specialist which runs stores for WH Smith and Marks & Spencer as well as a raft of food chains, has begun preparations for a £2bn summer float, The Sunday Times reported. SSP, run by former WH Smith boss Kate Swann, appointed Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to handle the listing.

It is expected to push the button on a listing in June or July, raising £450m-£500m and marking a swift return to the City for Swann, who left WH Smith last year.