Today’s news in brief-23/10/23

John Lewis is facing criticism from city planners over its affordable housing plans. Initially, the company aimed to make 20% of the housing in its Bromley development affordable. However, recent revelations indicate that only 10% of the flats will be designated as affordable. The Greater London Authority’s Planning Unit deems this percentage significantly below expectations. Bromley council is advocating for an increase in affordable housing to 35% in the development.

Farfetch has received approval from European authorities to acquire a 47.5% stake in Yook Net-A-Porter (YNAP) from Richemont, the owner of Cartier. This clearance follows prior approval from the CMA earlier in the year. The deal also involves additional investments by Symphony Global and the integration of Farfetch Platform Solutions by Richemont Maisons.

JD Sports has launched its JD Status loyalty programme app across its UK stores, following a successful eight-week trial in the north-west of England. The company plans to expand the offering to Europe in 2024. This app rewards loyal customers with cashback on their purchases, offering 10% cashback on the first purchase and 1% cashback on subsequent ones. The nationwide rollout is seen as a significant milestone in JD Sports’ strategy to enhance the customer experience beyond physical retail.

Pret A Manger has announced a new joint venture partnership with existing franchisee, Dallas International, to accelerate its expansion plans in the United States. This includes operational control of approximately 50 Pret shops located in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., as well as exclusive rights to open new shops in these markets. Dallas also plans to refurbish several shops and introduce new shop formats, such as drive-thrus. This joint venture builds on the existing relationship between Pret and Dallas, which includes separate franchise partnership agreements for shops in the UK and southern California.


Ministers, police, and retailers have reportedly agreed upon a new “zero tolerance” plan to combat shoplifting. The plan will be revealed by police chiefs at a summit in Downing Street, where it’s reported that incidents of shoplifting have risen to over 1,000 per day. The plan establishes a dedicated national unit, Operational Opal, to investigate cases of shoplifting from an organised crime perspective. Analysts in Operational Opal will utilise advanced surveillance technologies to identify organised crime groups involved in mass shoplifting. Additionally, the police will run each CCTV image of shoplifting offences through their national database, which incorporates facial recognition technology. A group of 13 retailers, including John Lewis, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Next, will invest £600k in this initiative under a new agreement called Project Pegasus. The plan also outlines that store security guards will be expected to detain shoplifters under a citizens’ arrest.

Adam Zavalis has been appointed as the new vice president of marketing at Asda, beginning his role in November. Reporting to Asda’s chief customer officer, David Hills, Zavalis will lead Asda’s marketing team and agency partners in creating and delivering campaigns. Formerly the marketing director at Aldi for eight years, Zavalis brings extensive retail and grocery experience to this role. His appointment is viewed as a strategic move for Asda as they aim to enhance customer experience and deliver quality products at competitive prices.

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