Retail news round-up on June 25, 2015: Walmart working on watermarks to replace barcodes, Amazon UK pays just £11.9m tax in 2014 and John Lewis becomes UK’s biggest mutual.

Retail Week Breakfast Briefing

Walmart working on invisible watermarks for products

Walmart is developing invisible product watermarks to usurp the barcode in a move to cut out the need to visit a checkout, The Drum reported. This would allow the US retail giant to price items with a simple scan, anywhere on its surface area. The technology, created by Walmart’s Lab 415-C, could in theory see products scanned and priced by shopping carts.

Amazon UK business pays just £11.9m tax in 2014

Amazon’s business in the UK paid just £11.9m in tax in 2014, while its Luxembourg unit took £5.3bn of sales from British internet shoppers without being subject to UK tax, according to company filings. The Amazon group posted a strong UK performance last year, with overall takings increasing by more than 14% to £5.3bn. However, its subsidiary recorded a profit of just £34.4m and tax of £11.9m.

John Lewis dethrones Co-op as Britain’s biggest mutual

John Lewis has become the UK’s biggest worker-owned business, outstripping the Co-operative Group. According to a new report from trade body Co-operatives UK, full-year sales at the department store retailer hit £10.9bn in March. This snatched the top spot from the Co-op, which has turned in annual revenues of £10.8bn for this year.