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In the news this week… Retail Round-up

Including the fifth standalone menswear outlet for New Look and new offer for Home Retail Group.

The Source rounds up some of the key retail stories of the week.

Half term worked its sales magic for John Lewis, with the department store chain reporting an increase of 6.9% for the week to February 20 to £75.15 million. Home sales were up 7.8%, electricals increased by 11.1%, while fashion grew 1.9%. Meanwhile, Waitrose saw sales of cards and gift wrap soar 82% on Valentine’s Day, while champagne was up 18% thanks to last minute romantics.

Sainsbury’s now has until March 18 to make a firm offer for Argos owner, Home Retail Group. The extension comes after a rival bid from South African retailer Steinhoff, which threw its hat into the ring with an all-cash offer of £1.4 billion.

New Look has opened its fifth standalone menswear outlet. The store – in Kingston’s Bentall Centre – joins branches in Wigan, Portsmouth, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Meadowhall. Newport is being earmarked next, with the retailer saying it would like 25 trading stores by the end of its next financial year.

The owner of Primark – Associated British Foods – has said half year sales at the retailer are expected to be 7.5% ahead of last year (at constant currency). Sales at actual exchange rates are anticipated to be 4% ahead. Cumulative like for like sales have improved since Christmas and are expected to be level with last year in the first half.

Mastercard has revealed the total number of processed contactless transactions passed the one billion mark in Europe last year. This marks a year on year increase of 150%. In addition, contactless expenditure grew 375% year on year, with the number of active contactless cards in circulation in the UK up 188%.

Argos is working with Google on a new online advertising tool which aims to update shoppers with live product availability from local stores. Development testing for local inventory ads began in January.

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