Retail news round-up: UK retail sales drop in January, Barclay brothers seek Shop Direct sale, and increased revenues at Jimmy Choo.

UK retail sales drop in January

UK retail sales have dropped in January, according to the Confederation for British Industry (CBI), the Financial Times reported.

The CBI reported that almost a third of the 52 retailers surveyed posted decline in the volume of sales in the year to December, while only 23% posted an increase in sales.

Clothing retailers and department stores, however, reported “continually healthy growth”.

Barclays to pursue Shop Direct sale

The Barclay brothers are planning to cash in on record festive trading at Shop Direct by selling their stake in the business, Sky News reported.

The Barclays are said to be mulling a partial sale through a private transaction or a stock market listing, in a deal that could value the business at £2bn.

Investment banks Goldman Sachs and HSBC are understood to be working with the Barclays to explore options.

A spokesperson for the Barclay brothers declined to comment.

Jimmy Choo posts increase in total revenues

Jimmy Choo has recorded a total revenues increase of 15% to £364m, The Times reported.

The luxury shoemaker, which is known for its ultra-high heels and has 150 shops worldwide, reported strong growth in Europe and Asia last year.

Jimmy Choo’s chief executive Pierre Denis said: “We had a strong improvement in the second half in the UK, helped by more tourists. The feeling was good.”

He added that the business men’s ranges is the fastest-growing category and the accessories division performed well, owing to its collection of Lockett handbags costing from £950 to £2,495.

Unilever chief defends price rise

Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman said that the company’s decision to increase prices was “definitely the right one” owing to the sterling’s slump after the Brexit vote.

He also added that the company had to balance value for money for shoppers with “long-term” factors.

Unilever reported that revenues reduced by 1% to €52.7bn (£44.9bn) in 2016. However, pre-tax profit for the year increased 3.4% to £7.5bn.

The company blamed the Indian government's decision to withdraw high-value notes and a weak economy in Brazil.

French Connection searching for new board members

French Connection is searching for replacements for two of its non-executive directors following intense pressure from activist investors at Gatemore, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The company is replacing Dean Murray and Claire Kent as Gatemore ramps up its public campaign against the company.

The company has been loss-making for the past eight years, and Gatemore Capital has urged it to address its declining cash flow.