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


10:39am LK Bennett drafts in advisers

LK Bennett has drafted in Alix Partners to assess the business’ future with options including a sale.

Alix Partners will conduct a strategic review of the business, which is owned by founder Linda Bennett. Bennett, who bought back the business in 2017 after selling a stake to private equity in 2008, may sell part of her stake to an outside investor, sources told Sky News.

The business made an operating loss of nearly £6m in the year to July 2017.

LK Bennett and AlixPartners declined to comment.

JD Sports snaps up stake in rival Footasylum

JD Sports has snapped up a near-10% stake in athleisure rival Footasylum but insisted it does not intend to make a takeover bid for the business.

The sports and leisure giant said it had acquired more than 8.6 million shares in Footasylum, representing an 8.3% stake.

JD said it has bought the shares “for investment purposes” and is “prepared to acquire up to an aggregate interest of 29.9% in Footasylum”.

However, it said it was “not intending to make an offer” for its high street rival.

Tycoon Day eyes M&S stores

Retail entrepreneur Philip Day, owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, hopes to snap up stores being closed by Marks & Spencer.

The billionaire would turn the properties into branches of his Days department store chain which he launched two years ago, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

McColl’s profits hit by Palmer & Harvey collapse

Convenience retailer McColl’s has reported a fall in profits after a “challenging” year.

McColl’s was hit by disruption to supply following the collapse of suppler Palmer & Harvey, but said it was confident in its long-term strategy.

Angling Direct posts sales rise

Angling Direct expects to expects to report sales up 38.9% to £42m for the latest full-year.

The retailer said that in-store sales rose 50% to £19.74 million, up 6.2% like-for-like. Online sales advanced 30.3% to £22.26 million, reflecting investment in its ecommerce platform and development of international websites.

International sales increased by 98% to £4.66m and now account for 20.9% of the online total.

The retailer said it is “delighted with the international reach that the company now has and also that the business has been structured in preparation for Brexit, given the very high percentage of stocks coming from the Far East.

“Inventory numbers in general are good and the business does not foresee any disruption to supply throughout the next few months, regardless of any Brexit outcome.”

Retailers voice anger at HMRC over wage rules enforcement

Retailers have called for HM Revenue and Customs to stop enforcement action against employers deemed to have broken pay rules and argued that the system is “no longer fit for purpose”.

The British Retail Consortium claimed that HMRC “too often” targeted employers that inadvertently had breached rules even though they had taken despite taking “all reasonable steps to comply”, The Times reported.