Retailers are closely monitoring developments in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal as campaigners put pressure on big companies to reconsider their advertising with the Sunday tabloid.

Other businesses are also reviewing their options. Ford has pulled its advertising with the newspaper, while Halifax, Npower and T-Mobile are considering their positions in the wake of allegations that the newspaper hacked into the mobile phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler and jeopardised the police search for her.

Campaigners have used social media to mobilise demand for companies to reconsider their advertising in the paper and circulated the emails of chief executives including DFS’s Ian Filby, Dixons’ John Browett and Tesco’s Phil Clarke, urging supporters to email their concern.

So far no retailers have decided to pull advertising. However one source at a big retailer said store groups are following developments closely and will consider their stance in the light of how the story develops, any further allegations and public reaction.

A spokesman for the Co-operative Group said: “The Co-operative Group believes it would be irresponsible to contemplate a ban on advertising in the News of the World based on allegations that are still being investigated.”

A Dixons spokeswoman said: “There are a number of factors that determine our media planning and we constantly review all the media we use. However, we do not comment on specific cases.”

Tesco wrote on its Facebook page: “We know that you have a lot of questions surrounding recent News of the World allegations.
“These latest allegations will cause huge distress to a family which has suffered enough. It’s now a matter for the police; like everyone, we await the outcome of their investigation.”