Retail news round-up on January 9, 2014: WHSmith faces revolt over Kate Swann’s pay-off, Boots Retail pre-tax profit jumps 14%, Marks & Spencer third quarter sales hit by warm October, Liberty Christmas sales up 17%

WHSmith faces revolt for pay-off of former chief executive Kate Swann

WHSmith faces a pay revolt after investor group Pirc said the retailer’s former chief executive Kate Swann was rewarded with more than £11m of shares ‘without obvious benefit to shareholders, The Guardian reported. The warning comes ahead of the firm’s annual general meeting later in January. Pirc has urged that investors oppose the company’s remuneration report. Pirc added that it had other concerns about the executives being able to earn 500% of salary when ‘payout is possible on achievement of single criteria’, while it also criticised linking ‘dividends to incentives’.

Boots Retail Ireland sees 14% rise in annual pre-tax profit

Boots Retail Ireland recorded a 14% pre-tax profit jump to €20.4m last year, The Irish Times reported. In the 12 months to the end of March 31 last year, the Irish arm of the UK pharmaceutical retail giant reported sales of €285m, up 3.4% from €275.7m, according to accounts filed with the Companies Office. Boots, which operates 76 stores in Ireland said operating profit increased 15% to €20.5m. Overall like-for-like sales fell 4.4%. A spokeswoman for the retailer said the fragile state of the Irish economy had continued to impact trading.

Marks & Spencer reveals warm October hit third quarter sales

Marks & Spencer revealed quarterly sales did not meet expectations as like-for-likes dipped -0.2% as general merchandise sales were hit by unseasonal warm weather in October. For the 13 weeks to December 28, Marks & Spencer revealed food like-for-likes in the third quarter jumped 1.6% but general merchandise like-for-like sales slumped -2.1%.The department store retailer revealed over the Christmas period like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to December 28 increased 1%, as food like-for-likes advanced 1.5% and general merchandise like-for-like sales increased 0.5% in the period.

Liberty Christmas sales increase 17%

London department store Liberty has posted a rise in sales over the Christmas period after the retailer flung open its doors to a Channel 4 camera crew to give the viewers an insight into the running of one of London’s most famous stores. Between November 11 and December 24 sales at the retailer jumped 17% compared to the year before. The retailer, which was the focus of a three-part Channel 4 documentary in December, also said footfall was up between 45% to 60% over the festive season.