Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.

08.00am Acting Debenhams ‎chair Duddy in line for Moss Bros role

Former Home Retail boss Terry Duddy has been shortlisted to replace Debbie Hewitt as chairman of Moss Bros.

Duddy, who has been drafted in as interim chair at Debenhams following the ousting of Ian Cheshire, is being sounded out to replace Hewitt, who is set to stand down later this year, according to Sky News.

07:53am Mike Ashley’s businesses account for 3.2% of non-food retail spend

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley’s ever-expanding portfolio of businesses captured 3.2% of all UK non-food retail spend in 2018, new research has shown.

A GlobalData report looked at the businesses Ashley wholly owns or has a significant stake in, and calculated their share of the UK’s non-food retail market. 

As well as Sports Direct, Ashley owns House of Fraser, Evans Cycles, USC, Flannels, Cruise and Van Mildert, and has a 27% stake in French Connection, a 30% holding in Debenhams and a 26% share of Game.

He is currently in talks to acquire HMV and Patisserie Valerie out of administration.

07.28am ScS pulls out of running for Sofa.com

ScS has pulled out of talks to buy fellow furniture specialist Sofa.com.

The retailer said this morning that it was “no longer in discussions” over a potential acquisition over the Sofa.com business or its assets.

ScS’ withdrawal from the bidding process, which is being run by KPMG, appears to have paved the way for Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley to snap up the etailer.

07:12am Amazon posts record Christmas but sales growth is slowing

Amazon posted record sales and profits in the Golden Quarter, however, it forecast lower-than-expected first quarter sales sparking fears growth is slowing.

Profits rocketed 63% to $3bn, while sales jumped 20% to $72.4bn in the final three months of 2018. While this performance was better than expected, it was still the slowest rate of sales growth since early 2015.

Across 2018, sales jumped 31% to £232.9bn and profit soared to $10.1bn compared to $3bn in 2017.

In its current quarter, Amazon expects sales to grow between 10% and 18%, slightly below analyst forecasts.

The online giant blamed currency exchange rates. It is also facing challenges due to changing regulations in markets such as India.

07.01am MPs launch inquiry into impact of business rates

The Treasury Committee has launched a fresh inquiry into the much-maligned business rates amid warnings that a further 100,000 shops will close this year.

The Committee will examine if the current system is working and will explore whether alternative policies, such as the proposed digital services tax or a land-value based tax, could level the playing field between bricks-and-mortar retailers and online players.