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

WHSmith chief executive Clarke to step down

WHSMith group chief executive Stephen Clarke is to step down in October, when he will hand over the reins to Carl Cowling.

Clarke has been at WHSmith for 15 years, including six leading the bookseller and stationer.

Cowling, at present managing Director of WHSmith’s high street division, joined the retailer in 2014 to run its travel arm.

Halfords suffers fall in full-year profits

Halfords has reported a decline in full-year profits as challenging trading conditions and the weather took a toll.

The cycling and motor accessories specialist said that profits slid 24% to £51m in the year to March 29, when revenues inched up 0.3% to £1.14bn.

Topps Tiles reports ‘robust’ first-half in tough climate

Topps Tiles has reported a fall in interim profits but said it has gained market share and has made an “encouraging start” to the second half of its financial year.

The specialist retailer recorded an 18.8% fall in pre-tax profits to £5.2m in the 26 weeks to March 30, when sales edged down 0.2% to £110.3m.

Shoe Zone posts flat sales and profits in first half

Show Zone has reported a “positive” first-half performance, when it held sales and profits firm.

The retailer reported pre-tax profit of £1m in the six months to March 30 – the same as last year - when sales edged down to £73m.

Ashley bails out of Mysale

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley has sold his stake in etailer MySale.

The tycoon has offloaded his 4.8% holding for about £518,000 – substantially less than he paid for it when he invested alongside Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green.

Tesco Bank to end mortgage lending

Tesco Bank has said that it has “ceased new mortgage lending and is actively exploring options to sell its existing mortgage portfolio, including the complete transfer of related balances and ongoing administration of relevant accounts”.

The bank, which had offered mortgages since 2012, serves more than 23,000 customers with total lending balances of £3.7bn.

Tesco Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon, said: “In recent years, challenging market conditions have limited profitable growth opportunities. Our focus is on how we best serve Tesco customers and align our resources effectively to their needs while ensuring that our offer remains sustainable in the long term.”