Retailers ranging from John Lewis to Schuh showed a united front in their backing of RetailCURe, a retail credit union scheme which launched today.

The financial co-operative has been in the making for two years and has been a labour of love for a variety of backers ranging from Theo Paphitis and the Retail Trust to retailers including Pets at Home and Debenhams.

For a sector that prides itself on being about people, it may come as a surprise that a credit union that allows retail staff to save and borrow at affordable rates is an industry first.

And high time too – as Paphitis pointed out, sectors including the police force, NHS and the transport industry all have dedicated credit unions, so one that serves retail’s 4.5 million UK employees is long overdue.

RetailCURe has been designed to incentivise saving for all retail employees, irrespective of how much they earn – and as today’s feature commissioned by guest editor and boss John Roberts shows, retail leaders can rise the ranks from very humble beginnings.

Ahead of Kingfisher’s eagerly anticipated financial update tomorrow, we take a closer look at the former executive of the retailer who has been drafted in to run Homebase.

And Topps Tiles refused to let “duff conditions” and subdued interim results dampen its ambitions with the launch of a new store format.

Quote of the day

“We realised that we haven’t put the same amount of innovation into returns as we have deliveries”

– Asos boss Nick Beighton on the fashion etailer’s plans to revolutionise its returns proposition

Today in numbers

The percentage of c-stores owned by unaffiliated independent retailers, according to research from IGD and William Reed

2,000 to 3,500
The square footage of Topps Tiles’ small core concept stores

Wednesday’s agenda

Look out for a swathe of updates tomorrow including Marks & Spencer’s full years, Kingfisher’s first-quarter update and Dixons’ final-quarter update.

Grace Bowden, reporter