Today’s news in brief-4/4/24

In March, UK retail footfall experienced a modest increase of +1.7% compared to February, signalling a stabilising trend according to MRI data. Retail parks led the rise with a +4.3% increase. Despite mid-month declines, the week leading to Easter saw footfall rise by +10.3%. Although impacted by weather and holiday shifts, footfall remained steady. Looking forward, rail strikes may affect April footfall, especially in urban areas.

Dee Corsi, NWEC chief, criticised the government’s decision to retain VAT on tourist purchases, labelling it a “missed opportunity.” NWEC data shows a decline in spending in the West End, emphasising the impact of the loss of tax-free shopping. Corsi advocates for reinstating tax-free shopping to boost tourism across the UK.

Phil Thomas, former Costa Coffee CMO, has joined Dobbies as chief marketing officer. With extensive retail experience, he aims to enhance customer engagement and brand innovation. Thomas will oversee all marketing activities and focus on driving customer insights and data analytics. His appointment follows Louise Niven’s departure due to maternity leave.

Nicola McIntosh, former executive board director at NHS Trust, has joined A.F. Blakemore as chief people officer. With a focus on championing performance, McIntosh aims to foster an inclusive work environment. Her appointment reflects A.F. Blakemore’s commitment to colleague and customer centricity.


Luxury ecommerce retailer Mytheresa is considering bidding for Yoox Net-a-Porter amid Richemont’s search for a buyer. Private equity firms Bain Capital and Permira are also potential bidders. Concerns about YNAP’s ongoing losses complicate valuation. Mytheresa remains open to growth opportunities, including M&A activities.

Co-op’s group annual pre-tax profits decreased to £28m due to the sale of its forecourt business and economic challenges. However, food business profits increased by 11% year-on-year to £154m, driven by cost efficiencies. Co-op remains focused on growth and membership, restructuring into three core business areas to capture existing and new market opportunities.

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