Retail news round-up: Pension expert questions Dunlop sale, Quiz reports surge in profits and UK retail prices set to increase by up to 8%.

Pension expert questions Dunlop sale

The fate of the Dunlop Slazenger pension fund has been questioned by a pensions expert as Sports Direct prepares to sell Dunlop to Sumitomo Rubber Industries, The Guardian reported.

Dunlop Slazenger International, a subsidiary of Sports Direct, had a £9.2m pension deficit in April 2015, with a loss of more than £20m.

Sports Direct defended saying it is only selling the Dunlop brand and retaining Slazenger.

Pensions expert John Ralfe raised questions whether the new owners will guarantee the pension obligations of the company and has asked for new legislation to be brought to ensure such guarantees were provided.

Work and Pensions Select Committee chairperson Frank Field MP have asked the Pensions Regulator to closely examine the Dunlop deal and publicly raise any issues.

Sports Direct should “give reassurance that it is not going to dump the deficit on the pension protection fund and the regulator should be active and reviewing this”, he said.

The regulator, Sports Direct and Sumitomo declined to comment.

Quiz reports surge in profits

Quiz has posted an increase in revenue from £78.2m to £87.4m year on year, with a 17% increase in profit to £5.7m owing to the omnichannel business model, Drapers reported.

The womenswear retailer has reported record financial results for the year to March 31, 2016 with a 10% increase in UK retail sales excluding ecommerce and 33% increase in its online sales.

Quiz has opened 40 new stores and concessions in 12 months, with plans to open another six standalone stores in the first quarter of 2017.

Founder Tarak Ramzan said the results reflected the “growing appeal of the Quiz brand”.

UK retail prices set to increase by up to 8%

Prices across the UK’s retailers will increase by an average of 5% to 8% in 2017, with essentials becoming more expensive, according to research by the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank, Belfast Telegraph reported.

The report also predicted that retail growth will stall next year owing to political uncertainty fuelled by Brexit, the weak pound and a new US president.

The consumer price inflation is set to increase between 2.5% and 3% next year.

An increase in non-discretionary retail like food and grocery will be offset by a decrease in discretionary spending, leading to overall retail growth of 0.5% in the year.

RTT co-chairman and KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin said: "You could argue that the 'Great British' consumer has broadly ignored the result of the Brexit referendum, with consumer spending continuing to grow over the final months of the year.

"This is very likely to change in 2017 and the sector will face much stronger headwinds.

"The question remains how much will be absorbed within the supplier base, by retailers and actually be passed on to the consumer.”