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Today’s news in brief-29/5/24

Retail sales in the UK have seen their fastest growth since December 2022, according to the CBI Distributive Trades Survey. Sales volumes jumped by 8% in May, even as selling price inflation eased significantly to its lowest since August 2020, falling from 54% in February to 20%. Despite this improvement, retailers anticipate a slight decline in sales next month, remaining in line with seasonal norms. Employment in retail has continued to decrease for the seventh consecutive quarter, with a more moderate decline expected next month. Retailers’ investment intentions have also weakened, reflecting a cautious outlook for the coming quarter.

Boohoo has decided to withdraw its plan to pay £1m bonuses to top executives following shareholder backlash. The decision comes after the company reported a 17% drop in revenues to £1.46 billion for the year ending 29 February 2024 and widened losses of £160 million. Despite some shareholders’ criticism, Boohoo’s remuneration committee initially planned to grant substantial bonuses to its co-founders and CEO, but the plan has now been scrapped. The company has stated it will continue to engage with shareholders regarding executive compensation in the future.

Ocado is set to be relegated from the FTSE 100 as its stock value has plummeted, with a potential move to the FTSE 250 and technology firm Darktrace likely to take its place. The company’s market value has dropped from £22bn during the pandemic to just £3.6bn. Speculation has arisen about Ocado considering shifting its listing from London to New York for a potentially higher valuation. This shake-up will be confirmed after the market closes on 5 June, based on the market close data from 4 June.

Pets at Home reported a 3.2% drop in its underlying profit-before-tax to £132m for the year ending 28 March 2024, attributed to short-term availability issues and weaker performance in discretionary accessories. The company’s statutory profit-before-tax fell 13.7% due to non-underlying costs. Despite these challenges, total group revenue grew by 5.2% to £1.5bn, driven by strong performance in its vet group, which saw a 16.8% revenue increase. The company maintains its profit guidance for FY25, with continued growth expected.

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Steve Carson, CEO of furniture retailer ScS, is stepping down after overseeing the £99 million acquisition by Italian retailer Poltronesofá. Carson, who has led the company since November 2020, will leave in July, ensuring a smooth transition. Under his leadership, ScS has seen significant investment and rebranding, positioning it for future growth.

Primark has expanded into its 17th market with the opening of a new store in Budapest, Hungary. This follows an investment of over €8m as part of the retailer’s growth strategy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Budapest store, located in Arena Mall, spans 33,900 sq ft and has created over 180 jobs. Primark plans to open additional stores in Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic later this year..

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