Ikea waits till the midnight hour and Marks thinks about a slice of Toast
This week last year, Sainsbury's trading director for non-food Keith Evans quit after only 20 months in the job. To the grocer, the news can only have come as a bitter blow to its efforts in reacting to Tesco's non-food dominance. Sainsbury's finally started to rebuild its non-food team in February this year with the appointment of former Homebase trading director Penny Teale as business unit director for general merchandise.

Last year, Ikea announced it was going to test opening until midnight at its Croydon store on weekdays. UK managing director Peter Høgsted said the retailer had addressed the convenience issue and now wanted to tackle queues. Last month, Ikea attempted a midnight store launch at Edmonton in north London. However, the response from customers was so huge that the shop was forced to close after just 40 minutes.

French Connection revealed last year that it was thinking about turning its mail order brand Toast into a store chain. Founder and chief executive Stephen Marks said the success of Toast concessions at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols prompted the idea. Marks thought about the project long and hard because, it took 12 months to open the first Toast standalone store at Harrogate in North Yorkshire on March 3.