Today’s news in brief-4/1/24

M&S emerged victorious against Michael Gove’s decision to block its redevelopment plans for its Marble Arch flagship branch. The High Court ruled that Gove’s decision was “unlawful” and had misinterpreted planning policy. This decision paves the way for M&S to proceed with its plans, which include demolishing the existing Art Deco building and constructing a new 10-storey complex. M&S emphasised the benefits of its proposal, such as creating thousands of jobs and promoting sustainable growth. Gove will now have to reconsider his stance on the matter.

M&S CEO Stuart Machin has called for reforms to business rates and the apprenticeship levy in the upcoming budget. Machin highlighted the disproportionate burden imposed by current business rates and the limitations of the apprenticeship levy. He also advocated for the reintroduction of tax-free shopping, particularly emphasising its impact on London. Machin’s plea underscores the challenges faced by retailers and the need for supportive government policies.

Gymshark announced the appointment of Carly Natalizia as its chief digital officer, signalling a strategic move to consolidate its digital customer journey. Natalizia’s extensive experience in marketing and digital strategy positions her well to oversee Gymshark’s digital marketing and experience efforts. Her appointment reflects Gymshark’s commitment to enhancing its digital presence and driving future growth in the competitive retail landscape.

BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker reported a fifth consecutive month of negative sales. Both in-store and online sales declined, with fashion and homeware sectors particularly affected. High operating costs and borrowing expenses exacerbate the situation, overshadowing concerns about supply chain issues and skills shortages. Retailers are urged to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and explore viable business models to survive in the current economic climate.


Frasers Group has acquired online bicycle retailer Wiggle out of administration, adding to its cycling business portfolio. The acquisition comes at a time when the cycling industry grapples with challenges in global supply chains. Frasers’ purchase of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles underscores its commitment to expanding its presence in the cycling market. The deal represents a lifeline for Wiggle, which faced financial difficulties and administration last year, securing the jobs of its 450 employees.

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