Hawkins sets out BRC stall as Etam courts Green to buy UK stores
This week last year, newly appointed British Retail Consortium director-general Kevin Hawkins outlined his vision for the retail industry trade body. The former Safeway communications director said he wanted to raise the stature of the organisation to the same size as the CBI, and win back Philip Green as a member.

Hawkins has been vocal in its response to issues such as retail crime and the national minimum wage in the run up to the May general election. Philip Green remains absent from the BRC, although a spokeswoman said he was always welcome.

Etam's 210 UK stores were in trouble a year ago after the division reported a£10.9 million loss. Industry sources revealed the chain had been offered to New Look and Philip Green, although French parent Etam Developpement wanted to hold on to the name. Last week, Philip Green finally bought the chain for an estimated£10 million, name and all.

Last year, Woolworths announced its commitment to e-commerce with new online categories. It was also considering disposing of its Big W format stores. This year, following the collapse of buyout negotiations with Apax Partners, the retailer is facing shareholder ire. One investor has already called for a share buy-back programme to be set up.