Retail news round-up on April 11, 2014: WH Smith to operate franchise stores for other retailers, Tesco plans 80-stores food chain, Investor Carl Icahn scraps call to spin-off PayPal and more

WH Smith to operate franchise stores for other retailers

Books and stationery retailer WH Smith is set to start operating franchise outlets for other retailers as it grows the brands it operates, The Guardian reported. The company has reached a deal to operate Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe stores in travel hubs like train stations. It also intends to open at least two more M&S Simply Food shops in hospitals this year.

Tesco working on high-street takeaway food chain

Tesco has taken a big step towards developing its fast food plans, as it is working on a high-street lunch-time food chain, according to the Guardian. Analysts said the grocer is putting the final touches to a new format named ‘Tesco Express food to go’ that would focus on the large London market and compete against Eat and Greggs. Steve Dresser of Grocery Insight said the retailer was targeting as many as 80 stores in the capital as it looked to break into the lucrative lunchtime sandwich and snack market.

Activist investor Carl Icahn withdraws call for PayPal split

Investor Carl Icahn has pulled his proposal that eBay spin-off its fastest-growing PayPal payments business, BBC News reported. The billionaire had been trying to draw support for the proposed sell-off ahead of the e-commerce giant’s annual shareholder meeting in May this year. Icahn said it had become clear that several major shareholders would not back the plan. As part of the agreement signed, Icahn has also withdrawn his proposal to add two of his own nominees to eBay’s board.

Consumer price index in Ireland up 0.7% in March on month-on-month basis

According to Central Statistics Office’s official figures, Irish consumer price index increased 0.7% month-on-month in March, Reuters reported. It stood at 0.2% higher on an annual basis. The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices grew 0.5% on the month and was 0.3% higher than a year ago.

Argos taps The House Worldwide to promote brand and digital offer

Argos has hired The House Worldwide to develop above-the-line marketing campaigns to promote its brand and digital offering. The campaign will help Argos grow its own brand products, which it wants to grow to become a third of its sales by 2018.