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

3.02pm London Designer Outlet hails ‘best ever’ trading week 

Wembley’s London Designer Outlet (LDO) hailed its “best ever” sales week during the Christmas period as it notched up its 21st consecutive quarter of sales growth.

LDO said revenues climbed 2% year-on-year in the week to January 1, when footfall increased 8%. 

Like-for-likes at the centre, which excluded new openings such as Big Moe’s Diner, JRC Global Buffet, were up 1.5%.

Footwear emerged as the centre’s standout category during the seven-day period, registering a 14.4% spike. Sports retailers enjoyed a 9.5% uptick.

12.18pm Sainsbury’s Bank boss Griffiths to retire

Sainsbury’s Bank boss Peter Griffiths is stepping down from the business next year.

As first reported by Sky News, Sainsbury’s is in the “early stages of succession planning” for his successor. 

Griffiths is retiring from the role, having led the grocer’s banking arm since 2012.

11.12am Iceland recycles 310,000 plastic bottles

Iceland has recycled more than 310,000 plastic bottles since it launched a trial of in-store reverse vending machines.

The frozen food specialist installed the machines at its stores in Wolverhampton, Mold, Fulham and Musselburgh, as well as its Deeside head office, last year.

The trial, which forms part of Iceland’s war on plastic packaging, rewards customers with 10p to spend in store for every bottle recycled. 

Iceland managing director Richard Walker hinted that the retailer could now roll out the machines across the UK, saying customers “would be in support of a nationwide scheme”.

7.20am Dobbies records bumper Christmas as festive sales bloom

The gardening centre retailer recorded a 21% increase in sales year on year to £24.1m in the six weeks to December 30.

This sales increase was bolstered by an 8% uplift in like-for-like sales during the period.

Dobbies strong festive sales performance comes against a backdrop of a 1.5% decline in-full-year sales in its most recent financial year.

7.04am Next posts Christmas sales rise, trims profit guidance

The fashion retailer posted a 1.5% rise in full-price sales in the quarter to December 29, driven by a 15.2% rise in online sales to £17m.

Physical sales declined 9.2% to £16m during the period.

Next edged down its full-year profit forecast 0.6% to £723m. The retailer attributed this £4m dip in profit expectations to higher sales of seasonal gifts and beauty products impacting overall margins and operational costs associated with online sales.

6.45am Apple warns on profits, blames China sales slowdown

The electricals giant said in a letter to investors that its revenue in the quarter to December 29 would be $84bn (£67bn), down from previous expectations of $89bn (£71bn) and marking a 5% decline in sales year-on-year.

This is the retail giant’s first quarterly sales decline since 2016.

Chief executive Tim Cook attributed the revenue fall to difficulties in the Greater China region, which accounts for approximately a fifth of the firm’s sales.

“While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” he said.