Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.
12:50pm M&S to offer phone charger network to shoppers
M&S is establishing a phone charging sharing service designed to allow shoppers to borrow portable phone chargers so they can charge their phones on the move.
Charging company ChargedUp is the first business selected by M&S for its accelerator programme under its joint venture with start-up network Founders Factory. The joint venture is designed to exposes M&S to new technologies and business models as part of the business’ digital transformation.
ChargedUp has a network of vending stations across the capital which allow users to rent a portable charger for as long as they want before returning them to any station in the network. The network is powered by renewable energy and has 20,000 active users across 250 stations.
ChargedUp vending stations will be installed next to M&S food-to-go counters in stores in the Pantheon, White City, Bankside, Victoria Cardinal Place, Fenchurch Street and Finsbury Pavement and at two stores at its headquarters.
12:48pm Oliver Bonas to open eight new stores in 2019
Oliver Bonas has said that it will be opening eight new stores in 2019, following a £15m increase in its revolving credit facility with HSBC.
The lifestyle brand said it would be adding to the 77 stores it currently has around the UK, with the first new store opening in Gatwick North Terminal.
Oliver Bonas said the Gatwick store would add “at least 80 new jobs” and its expansion programme was being driven by “an increase demand for its stores”.
Oliver Tress, founder of Oliver Bonas, said: “Whilst trade on the high street has been challenging, OB continues to grow. We have stuck to the core principle that makes our lifestyle offer unique: doing our little bit to make living a joyful experience. For us, this means best in-class customer service, a welcoming and inspiring experience in store and online and a highly curated homeware and fashion collection.”
7:41am Jack Wills supplier takes business to court
A Jack Wills supplier took the retailer to court over an unpaid bill last week, serving it with a winding up order.
The outstanding bill, owed by the fashion retailer to building materials business Jewson, was paid on Friday according to The Mail on Sunday.
The retailer has been under pressure lately: its founder and former chief executive Peter Williams was ousted from the business last year after it filed accounts showing losses of £995,000 for the year to January 2017.
Its accounts are overdue at Companies House with the Mail on Sunday reporting that the company has agreed to a formal extension and will file its accounts “within weeks”.
7:24am Canadian buyer front-runner for HMV
A Canadian record store retailer is the front-runner to buy HMV and could dash Mike Ashley’s hopes of acquiring yet another ailing retailer.
Sunrise Records, run by entrepreneur Douglas Putnam, is the preferred bidder in an auction being run by administrators KPMG, reports The Sunday Telegraph.
Putnam is understood to want to buy the entire business, a move which could save the jobs of the 2,200 staff working at the retailer.
7:19am Monsoon asks landlords for rent reductions
Monsoon has asked landlords for rent cuts as it mulls accelerating the pace of its store closures.
A spokesman for the group, which operates 268 stores under its Monsoon and Accessorise fasciae, told the Mail on Sunday that there were “currently no plans” for a CVA.
He added: “We are continuing to look at options to reduce our overall costs as we restructure the business in the UK and internationally. We have steadily reduced our store portfolio in recent years and shall continue to do so as leases expire. We will look at options whether to accelerate these store closures.”
The business has closed nearly 40 stores in the last two years. Its German business filed for insolvency last week.
7:07am Debenhams may close 20 stores this year in CVA
Debenhams is considering launching a CVA in a bid to counteract the burden of its onerous rental agreements on its finances.
The ailing department store chain is reportedly looking to close 20 of its 165 stores as well as to negotiate rent reductions on others.
Debenhams is already on track to close between 10 and 50 stores over the next three to five years but is reportedly running out of headroom on its £520m borrowing facilities and has a quarterly rent payment due on March 25.
The business declined to comment but is expected to update shareholders on the situation within the next few weeks.