Ministers will give councils the right to tear up the remaining restrictions on Sunday trading from this autumn, in what the FT calls “a move that will please large retailers but rile corner shops and trade unions”. The extension of Sunday opening hours will be billed as an attempt by the government to allow “bricks and mortar” retailers to compete with their internet rivals, who are taking a rapidly increasing share of the market. (The Financial Times £)

Retail sales jumped by 2.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis last month, according to data published today by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG. This is the best growth since September and well ahead of the three-month average of 1.6 per cent and the 12-month average of 1.9 per cent. (The Times £)

Britain’s shop vacancy rate fell to a six-year low last month, as town centres and retail parks across the country reported improvements in the number of sites being filled. The proportion of empty shops across Britain fell to 12.5% in January, the lowest level since December 2009 and a 0.4% decline when compared to the previous month. (The Telegraph)

John Lewis is to add a new name to its wardrobe, with online fashion retailer Finery setting up shop in its stores. Finery launched last year and has made £5million in sales in its first 12 months of trading. From Friday it will have concessions in six John Lewis flagship stores in Oxford Street and Sloane Square in London, as well as in Manchester, Cheadle, Birmingham and Liverpool. (The Daily Mail)

The success of the latest Star Wars film boosted fourth-quarter earnings at toymaker Hasbro, with strong sales of figurines and other products associated with the movie franchise (The Financial Times £). Revenue from toys targeted at boys, which include action figures based on the two blockbuster films released last year, surged 35% to $569.8m (£395m) in the final three months of 2015. (The Guardian)

Men’s skincare brand Bulldog has landed a deal to sell its British-made products across the US. The London-based company already exports products to Europe and Asia but the US, sometimes known as the “graveyard for British firms”, has been a tougher market to crack. It has signed a deal with Walgreens, America’s fifth largest retailer. (The Telegraph)

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