Retail news round-up: Buyout firms decide not to bid for Shop Direct; high-street fashion sales decline; and Yoox Net-a-Porter targeted by short-sellers.

Buyout firms decline to bid for Shop Direct

Buyout firms such as CVC and Carlyle have decided not to bid for Shop Direct, Sky News reported.

The decision to back out is owing to uncertainty about consumer confidence amid the Brexit negotiation process.

The owners are targeting a £3bn-plus price tag for the company.

Spokespersons for Shop Direct, equity firms and UBS banking, handling the sale process, declined to comment.

High-street sales in fashion sector decline

Britain’s high-street sales declined 1.3% in May, owing to falling fashion sales, The Times reported.

According to BDO’s high-street sales tracker, like-for-like sales decreased 3.6% in May.

Spending on homewares sales increased 1.2%, while the lifestyle sector reported a growth of 3.9% year-on-year.

BDO head of retail and wholesale Sophie Michael said: “Retailers are facing turbulent times with rising operational costs, higher import prices and economic uncertainty.

"These factors result in higher inflation and therefore lower discretionary spend."

Yoox Net-a-Porter targeted by short-sellers

Yoox Net-a-Porter’s 17% of shares are out on loan, indicating they have been borrowed by short-sellers betting against the stock, This Is Money reported.

According to data, the percentage is three times higher than the past year, and is the highest in Bloomberg’s Intelligence index of 23 European luxury stocks.

Short interest is high despite shares being up more than 12% over the last month, and is forecasting growth of about 20% this year.

Online luxury sales increased 13% in 2016, but competition has intensified as Amazon, Farfetch and LVMH join the battle.