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Today’s news in brief-7/6/24

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has initiated a £1bn damages claim against Amazon on behalf of UK retailers selling on its marketplace. BIRA accuses Amazon of misusing retailers’ data and manipulating the Amazon Buy Box to divert sales and profits from these retailers to its own business. This claim, the largest ever by UK retailers, has been filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in London. BIRA’s detailed filing includes over 1,150 pages of documentation, a statement from its CEO Andrew Goodacre, and a report from an independent economic expert. BIRA aims to manage the claim for around 35,000 UK retailers and has enlisted legal support from Willkie Farr and Gallagher (UK) LLP, along with top competition barristers and an independent economic expert. Amazon has dismissed the complaint as baseless, highlighting its significant contribution to small and medium-sized UK businesses on its platform.

TDR Capital is poised to become the majority owner of Asda, following an agreement to acquire Zuber Issa’s shares in the supermarket. Mohsin Issa will remain a co-owner, while Walmart Inc. retains a 10% stake. TDR Capital first invested in Asda with the Issa brothers in June 2021 and has since overseen significant growth, expanding the store footprint and launching a successful loyalty app. TDR Capital plans to continue investing in Asda’s stores, online presence, and employees to drive sustainable growth.

Industrial action at Morrisons warehouses in Northwich and Wakefield, scheduled for mid-June, has been called off following an improved pay offer from the supermarket chain. Workers had previously gone on strike over changes to their pension contributions, which Unite claimed left them £500 a year worse off. Unite national officer Adrian Jones announced the suspension of planned strikes while the new offer is being balloted by members.

Dunelm’s independent non-executive director, Arja Taaveniku, is set to step down at the end of 2024, following her acceptance of a CEO position at Home Centre, a Middle Eastern home furnishings company. Taaveniku joined Dunelm in 2021 and has previously held senior roles at Kingfisher and Ikea. Dunelm chair Alison Brittain expressed gratitude for Taaveniku’s contributions and announced the initiation of a search for a new independent non-executive director.

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Holland and Barrett has partnered with MRI Software to utilise its AI-powered footfall analytics across more than 1,000 stores. This technology provides real-time insights into store performance, helping the retailer optimise operations and enhance customer experiences. MRI Software’s UK sales director, Jon Burnett, emphasised the importance of these insights for maintaining a competitive edge and swiftly responding to market trends.

Sainsbury’s has announced a partnership with buy-now-pay-later firm Klarna, allowing customers to use Klarna’s payment options at the online checkouts of Argos, Habitat, and TU. This includes the ability to pay in full immediately, within 30 days, or in three equal instalments.

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