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

Halfords hires new digital director from Holland & Barrett

Halfords has hired Emma Mead as its new digital director who will work alongside its current digital director – Matthew Gratze – before his departure in October.

The car and bike parts specialist is currently working on the launch of its new site – to be launched mid-October – and has hired Mead to take over the next stage of development.

Mead was formerly omnichannel director at Holland & Barrett for four years before making the move to Halfords last week.

Ashley favourite to buy Jack Wills

Mike Ashley is the favourite to buy fashion retailer Jack Wills.

Ashley’s Sports Direct became the preferred bidder for Jack Wills over the weekend, Sky News Reported. 

The purchase is likely to involve a pre-pack administration of Jack Wills, which has been seeking a buyer for the last month.

The acquisition may anger Sports Direct investors who believe Ashley has spread himself too thinly after making a string of acquisitions.

A deal between Sports Direct and Jack Wills, known for its ‘preppy’ fashion ranges popular among students, could be announced as soon as today.

Flying Tiger calls time on store openings after profits hit

Flying Tiger Copenhagen has halted UK store openings after a plunge in profits.

Flying Tiger Copenhagen’s profits slid from £2.9million to £748,000 in 2018, when sales edged down from £48.1million to £47.3million, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Marks & Spencer strategy director to head Ocado Retail

Marks & Spencer strategy director Melanie Smith has been named chief executive of Ocado Retail.

Her appointment follows completion of the creation of Ocado Retail, a joint venture between the pureplay grocer and M&S, which will sell food online for the first time when the venture goes live.

Naked Wines considers Nasdaq listing

Naked Wines is understood to be considering a listing on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange following last week’s sale of its Majestic business.

Naked Wines chief executive Rowan Gormley told investors that a listing on Nasdaq is planned after completion of the sale of Majestic Wine to US investor Fortress, the Sunday Times reported.

Union anger over Asda ‘sack’ threat

The GMB union reacted with anger to newspaper reports that Asda has threatened to fire ‘thousands’ of staff if they refuse to agree to new employment contracts.

GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “Our hard-working members are telling us they are being forced into signing these new contracts for fear of not being able to pay the bills or put food on the table for their kids. It’s sapping away morale and heaping misery on our members.

“Instead of strong-arm tactics, Asda needs to show some respect and listen to the workers whose hard work make the company’s profits. The Asda workforce deserve a better deal and the company should get round the table with us and agree changes that would help both our members and the business thrive.”