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

10:33am Wincanton renews delivery contract with Asda

Logistics company Wincanton has renewed its contract with Asda to provide “dedicated transport and warehousing” for the next three years.

Wincanton said the contract renewal will see a continuation of operations at four Asda sites in Doncaster, Larne, Rochdale and Wigan. These will cover frozen, chilled and ambient grocery, as well as general merchandise nationwide.

The contract employs 1,216 staff and 58 vehicles and was first signed in 2005.

Asda’s vice president of logistics services said the grocer was pleased to be renewing the contract. 

9.26am Smartphone shopping overtakes shopping centres

Shoppers using their smartphones or tablets to shop will increase by 66% this year according to switching firm, Uswitch.

One in every five pounds spent in-store now comes from online payments with clothes being the most popular product at 69%.

Data from the BRC-Springboard reveals fewer people are visiting shopping centres as footfall declined 3.9% in December.

Mobilesexpert from Uswitch.com Ru Bhikka said: ”For so many of us now, our smartphone is an extension of our hand and we have it with us all the time, meaning that we can shop whenever and wherever we like.

“Our handsets allow us to window shop all the time, and if we see something we like, it is right there at our fingertips.”

7:24am Game sales fall over Christmas as it rolls out arenas

Game’s UK sales fell over the Christmas period with its Spanish business outperforming its British arm.

UK sales fell 4.1% in the seven weeks to January 5, dipping 0.3% on a like-for-like level. It performed better in the wider period with like-for-likes up 1.1% in the 23 weeks to January 5 and down 1.5% overall.

Despite the poor sales, group trading margin improved over the seven weeks thanks to the performance of higher margin exclusive products, a higher mix of higher margin products and higher promotional margins. The business expects its full year performance to be in line with expectations.

Game is attempting to reengineer its fortunes via three strategic pillars: improving its core specialist offer, expanding live services and creating organisational efficiencies.

7:07am Primark sales up but like-for-likes dip

Primark sales rose 4% over the festive period but like-for-likes fell slightly.

The “modest” decline was mitigated by increased selling space, which led to an increase in market share.

The fashion retailer managed to boosts its operating profit margin during the 16 weeks to January 5 and profit was “well ahead” of the previous year. This was due to purchases having been made at a weaker US dollar exchange rate than the previous year and through better buying and tight stock management. Full year operating profit is in line with expectations.

European and American sales were both strong with European sales up 5% at constant currency. Primark’s parent company ABF said that growth was “especially strong” in France, Belgium and Italy and that its performance “strengthened” in Spain, its second largest market but that soft trading continued in a difficult German market. In the US, sales were “well ahead” and benefitted from a “very strong” trading at its Brooklyn store, which opened in July 2018.

Wincanton renews delivery contract with Asda