Morrisons sales during the first 15 weeks of its current year show an increase of 10.4% and are up like-for-like 6.5%. Receivers have sold the bakery division of Aberdeen-based McIntosh of Dyce to specialist pie and cake supplier Bell Bakers, following the sale of the ready meals and sausage division to a management consortium. Palmer & Harvey McLane is the latest grocery firm forced to close its final salary pension scheme to new employees because of the rising cost of providing them. Entrants from March 2003 will be offered a stakeholder pension. Diageo has finally completed the sale of its Malibu business to Allied Domecq. It now has approval from the US Federal Trade Commission, European and other regulatory authorities. The British Retail Consortium has warned that recent rises in NI contributions will lead to the loss of 10,000 retail jobs because the employers will not want to pass costs on to consumers. Specialist snack and ingredients retailer Julian Graves is to open 10 new units in primary trading locations as part of a target to add 52 stores to its 115 store portfolio by the end of the year. The major supermarkets are waiting for a letter from Secretary of State Patricia Hewitt on a voluntary Christmas Day trading ban, weeks after it was due to go out. The DTI said: "We will be writing to all major retailers shortly." Strongbow cider has axed TV presenter Johnny Vaughan as brand ambassador and has opted instead to extol the product's benefits in a new £10m summer ad campaign. A Food Standards Agency barbecue-themed food hygiene ad campaign is being supported by warnings on two million disposable BBQ barbecue packs and one million bags of charcoal on sale in supermarkets and petrol stations. Booker's Premier was voted retailer of the year by 29,000 shoppers in the CTP Awards. Suppliers voted Bells retailer of the year, Glaxo SmithKline was voted supplier of the year by retailers, and Londis won the distributor of the year category, decided by suppliers. Wal-Mart Germany said its first quarter operating losses were "less than planned" and well below last year's levels. Like-for-like sales growth was in the low single digits. The DTI has cleared the acquisition of AH Food's Ormeau Bakery business by British Bakeries, and Cadbury Schweppes' acquisition of Kernals Snack Products. Kmart will close 283 stores as part of its restructuring plan by the end of June. New NFU marketing head Robin Tapper takes up his post on Monday and not as stated in last week's issue. Newshops buying and marketing manager Ian Williamson is in talks with Carlton Cards about sponsorship of a store fascia, not with Clinton Cards as stated last week. {{NEWS }}