Retail news round-up: UK shop prices down 1.4% and shareholders oppose re-election of Sports Direct chairman.

UK shop prices fall 1.4%

Shop prices in the UK were down 1.4% in December, compared with the same period last year, according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, Sky News reported.

The 1.4% decline is considered to be the smallest annual drop since August 2015 and compared with a 1.7% decline in November.

However, the majority of categories had a month-on-month increase.

Clothing and footwear prices increased month-on-month for the first time in almost two years.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Timings of seasonal discounts can cause monthly fluctuations at this time of year and retailers have continued to find ways to mitigate the impact on consumers.

"However, we expect the general trend in inflation to be upwards over 2017."

The Bank of England has forecast a rise in inflation to 2.7% this year.

Re-election of Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell opposed

Shareholders have been urged to oppose the re-election of Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell owing to the long-running concerns about the lack of corporate governance, The Belfast Telegraph reported.

During the first poll in September, the majority of the independent investors had voted against Hellawell’s appointment.

However, Mike Ashley, who owns a 55% stake in the business continued to support Hellawell.

The second vote, which will be held tomorrow, has been triggered under new rules giving shareholders more power.

Aberdeen Asset Management's head of corporate governance, Paul Lee, said: "Though we welcome the positive progress the company has made over the last three months we remain deeply concerned about its governance. We are therefore again opposing the election of Mr Hellawell."

Tesco’s non-executive director steps down

Compass chief executive Richard Cousins has stepped down from his position as senior independent director of Tesco, The Guardian reported.

Cousins joined Tesco as a non-executive director in October 2014.

He became senior independent director in April 2015.

He will be replaced by Deanna Oppenheimer, who led Barclays high street banking operations in Europe, and has been on the board of Tesco for almost five years.