Today’s news in brief-9/1/24

The UK saw record-breaking grocery sales of £4.8bn during the week ending December 23, 2023, representing a 4.3% increase compared to the previous year. Aldi and Lidl continued to outperform the market, with a combined market share increasing to 20.1%. Total spending on groceries increased by £657m over the four weeks to December 30. NIQ data showed a shift towards essential items and affordable treats, with online sales up 7.7% and discounters Aldi and Lidl leading in growth. Marks and Spencer experienced a sales increase of 12.1%.

B&M announced a 5% year-on-year increase in revenues to £1.6bn for Q3 2024. The UK market showed a 3.7% revenue rise to £1.3bn, B&M France increased by 11.3% to £151m, and Heron Foods saw an 11.7% jump to £144m during the same period. CEO Alex Russo stated that the company’s strategy remains focused on being an everyday low-price discounter. B&M plans to open 76 new stores in FY24, with 45 in the UK, 11 in France, and 20 as Heron Foods stores.

Shoezone revealed a profit before tax of £16.2m for the year ended 30 September 2023, up from £13.6m the previous year. The company posted revenues of £165.7m, with store revenues at £134.8m and digital revenues at £30.9m. Despite opening 35 stores, the total store count decreased from 360 to 323 due to the closure of 72 stores. The closures resulted in £0.7m in annualised lease renewal savings. The store types include 42 big-box stores, 93 hybrid stores, and 188 original stores.

N Brown Group announced the appointment of Clare Empson as its new Director of Supply Chain. Empson, with 25 years of experience in the retail sector, will join the N Brown executive board on January 15, 2024. She will be responsible for operations, distribution, workplace, engineering, facilities, health and safety, supply chain MI, solutions, and logistics transformation. Empson’s appointment is part of the group’s ongoing transformation to enhance customer experience with technology at its core.


The British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported a 1.7% growth in total retail sales for December, falling short of expectations and reflecting a challenging year in retail. Food sales over the three months to December rose by 6.8%, while non-food sales declined by 1.5%. In-store non-food sales fell by 1.3%, and online non-food sales decreased by 0.8% in December. Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, noted that the post-Christmas sales did not boost retail growth significantly, and cautious consumers are likely to impact demand in the early months of 2024.

Boohoo Group is reportedly considering closing its Thurmaston Lane factory in Leicester, following controversy over orders being produced in other locations. The 23,000 sq ft “model factory” opened in January 2022 but faced scrutiny after a BBC Panorama investigation. Boohoo plans to relocate operations while retaining quality assurance and ethical compliance staff. Less than 100 employees are expected to be affected. The move is part of Boohoo’s efforts to enhance efficiency and strengthen the business. In October 2023, the company faced allegations of forced labour in its factories, which it intends to defend robustly.

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