Today’s news in brief-29/2/24

UK retail destinations saw a decline in footfall by -2.2% overall for the month. The start of February was marked by rail strikes and disruptions, though footfall initially rose by +2.9%. The half-term holiday in the third week contributed to a rise in footfall of +8.3% from the previous month, especially in high streets. However, by the end of February, footfall declined sharply by -8.6%, indicating consumer reluctance possibly due to financial pressures. Brands streamlining physical stores may have also impacted footfall. Despite this, optimism prevails for March, especially with the upcoming Easter trading period and stable consumer confidence regarding personal finances.

Ocado reported a pre-tax loss of £394m for FY23, despite a 9.9% increase in group revenues. This loss includes a boost from a settlement with a competitor. Technology solutions contributed significantly to revenue growth, with a 44% increase. Despite the loss, the joint venture with M&S, Ocado Retail, achieved underlying profit and showed growth in customer numbers and online market share.

Footasylum reported a 7% increase in revenue to £320m for FY23, with EBITDA jumping by 38% to £22m. Sales growth across all channels was aided by store expansions, including a flagship store on Oxford Street and omnichannel improvements. Operational initiatives and international expansion contributed to the positive performance. Despite economic challenges, Footasylum remains confident in its growth strategy, focusing on identifying trends and incubating new fashion brands.

Beckie Stanion, chief marketing officer at Frasers Group, has left amidst a restructuring of the marketing team, with 200 roles cut across head offices. The aim is to enhance operational efficiency and align with strategic pillars. This restructuring follows other job cuts across the group’s offices. Stanion’s departure marks a broader effort to realign marketing functions with the company’s evolving business model.


Hammerson reported a 6% increase in like-for-like gross rental income, alongside a record year of leasing. Footfall across retail locations increased by 3%, with positive sales trends in the UK and France. Despite a slight dip in gross rental income, the company remains optimistic about consumer spending and expects continued growth in 2024. CEO Rita-Rose Gagné highlighted the success of strategic investments and operational improvements.

Central Co-op is advocating for legislative reform to address the significant increase in retail crime, including assaults on shopworkers. The society’s white paper highlights the need for urgent action to protect frontline workers. Central Co-op urges MPs to support amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill to criminalise assaults on shopworkers. The company emphasises collaboration with law enforcement and policymakers to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees and customers.

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