Retail Newsflash

News originally published on Retail Week and Retail Gazette.

‘Iceland MD Richard Walker shares his views on the cost-of-living crisis’

Iceland boss Richard Walker has said big brands need a “reality check” and “the excess they charge isn’t appropriate”, as prices of some of the leading food and drink brands in the UK have risen by as much as 60%.

Walker appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier today, where he spoke to Ed Balls and Susanna Reid about how businesses – specifically retailers and leading FMCG brands – needed to step up and do more for households struggling to meet the rising costs of fuel, mortgage and food costs.

‘Klarna valuation plummets by 85% as investors lose appetite for BNPL’

Klarna has seen its valuation drop a whopping 85% in a new financing round announced on Monday.

The news comes as evidence for the failing investor confidence sentiment surrounding high-growth tech stocks and the buy now, pay later sector.

Klarna said it raised $800 million in fresh funding from investors at a valuation of $6.7 billion, which is a huge drop from the $45.7 billion the company secured in 2021 in a round led by Japanese firm SoftBank.

‘Five things you need to know about Halfords’

Diversifying with the savvy of a start-up, motoring and cycling specialist Halfords is applying its expertise to needs-based revenue streams, positioning itself to remain resilient as households feel the pinch. 

Driven by its focus on services, B2B revenues and online, Halfords delivered pre-tax profits of £96.6m in the year to April 1, up from £64.5m the year before, as group sales rose 6% to £1.4bn.

Read more here.

‘JD Sports appoints Andrew Higginson as new chair

Fashion giant JD Sports has announced the appointment of former Morrisons non-executive Andrew Higginson as the new chair of the group.

Higginson will take up his new role on July 11 as the retailer looks to restructure its senior management team following the departure of former executive chair and chief executive Peter Cowgill earlier this year.

‘Justmylook to open first physical store with interactive TikTok area’

Online beauty retailer Justmylook is set to open its first physical store to offer more than 40 different brands in one space. The retailer will open the new store on July 13 in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. The shop will feature an interactive area housing a hand-picked selection of TikTok’s most viral products, inspired by the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend.

Over 40 brands, including Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani as well as Olaplex and Dermalogica, will be available in store. The store will stock over 2,000 products available from its online offering and consumers can browse everything from exclusive hair care ranges to on-trend cosmetics.

Gymshark to open first ‘Deload’ barbershop with mental health trained barbers

Gymshark has introduced a new Gymshark Barbershop to allow men to comfortably open up to a mental health trained barber.

The new launch provides a “non-judgemental safe space” for men to open up, offload and have a chat with professional mental health trained barbers, while receiving their free trim.

The new barbershop, which is located in London’s Shoreditch, is called ‘Deload’. Gymshark is set to host panel talks across two evenings, with representatives from Calm, Lions BarbersCurfew Grooming, Gymshark athletes and influencers, who will be discussing “Be the Mate You’d Want” and “Building Real Strength”. Gymshark, which is due to open its first physical store this year, found that while men find it difficult to open up about how they’re feeling, they often open up at the barbers.

‘Supermarkets put security tags on basic food items to tackle shoplifting amid inflation’

Supermarkets across the UK have added security tags to basic food items as the cost-of-living crisis leads to a surge in shoplifting. Brits took to social media to share pictures of the tags more commonly used on bottles of alcohol, and instead attached to £3.99 blocks of Aldi cheddar.

Meanwhile, a Co-op store in Wolverhampton had security warnings on £8 lamb chops  as well as baby milk cartons. It comes as customers express their fury over Lurpak butter being sold for more than £9 a pack. Iceland has a 1kg pack price at £9.35, while Sainsbury’s online and in-store list a 750g tub for £7.25. The UK is currently facing the worst inflation in 40 years, climbing 9.1% in the 12 months to May, the highest since at least February 1982 when it reached 10.2%.

‘Lush to invest £7.6m in retail growth across UK and Europe’

Lush is pushing forward with the next stages of its growth and investment plan to invest £7.6 million for new shops, relocations and refits across the UK, Ireland and Europe in 2022.

The cosmetics and beauty retailer has recently secured a new Glasgow flagship store while also doubling the size of its Bluewater location as part of its push to show its commitment to continued investment in the British high street. It is looking to drive business forward by “providing innovation to showcase the 5* customer service experience” with its new immersive retail and spa experience.

The new Scottish flagship is based in one of Glasgow city centre’s most prominent buildings. The new landmark 15-year lease on 98 Buchanan Street has been secured at a rent of £900,000 per annum and the three-floor store is expected to open early next year.

John Lewis Queralt Ferrer

‘John Lewis makes key fashion hire to build own-brand’

John Lewis has appointed its first director of design for fashion as it prepares to “accelerate plans to expand our own-brand ranges with design that will inspire and excite customers”.

John Lewis has drafted in Queralt Ferrer to the role, a former womenswear, lingerie and beauty director at Marks & Spencer who also oversaw the launch and growth of Inditex’s Massimo Dutti brand.

The retailer said her arrival will support its ambition to be “a more significant player in fashion and home”. 

JD Sports Covid Pandemic

‘JD Sports’ profits double versus pre-pandemic record’

JD Sports has more than doubled full-year profits compared to the record sum achieved before the Covid pandemic hit.

JD Sports said that headline profit before tax and exceptionals reached £947.2m last year, compared to the previous high of £438.8m set in the year to February 1 2020.


‘Pressures mount for Sainsbury’s to pay living wage to all staff’

Sainsbury’s is under pressure to pass a resolution to pay both its direct staff and contracted workers the living wage.

The supermarket chain is set to hold a vote at its annual shareholder meeting on
July 7.


‘Seven retailers freezing prices amid the cost-of-living crisis’

To give shoppers peace of mind and retain customers, many retailers have pledged to keep prices static on key products. Boots this week revealed it will lock the prices of 1,500 products until the end of the year.

Retail Gazette rounds up the big retailers that have frozen prices this year. Read more.