More than 10,000 equal-pay claims may go ahead against Asda after the supermarket chain failed to stop the cases proceeding. Shopworkers in the group’s stores, who are mainly women, can compare themselves to better-off, mainly male, workers in the supermarket’s distribution centres, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled (The Times £). Asda is being urged to drop a legal action and increase pay on the shop floor after the supermarket lost its appeal against an equal pay claim from 15,000 workers (The Guardian).
Net profit at Pernod Ricard rose 13% to €1.4 billion as it returned to growth in China and saw strong demand across the Americas. The maker of Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal Scotch whisky reported a 3.6 per cent rise in sales to €9 billion for the 12 months to end of June. (The Times £)
Convenience chain McColl’s has recorded a 31% lift in sales after a boost from its acquisition of 298 Co-operative shops earlier this year. The retail chain said that it had completed integrating the new stores by the middle of July, which had helped to bolster the business. (The Telegraph)
Boots has cut the price of emergency contraception weeks after it sparked outrage by refusing to do so in case it encouraged women to have sex. The high street chemist announced on Thursday that it had started to sell a new, cheaper generic version of the morning-after pill in 38 of its stores and would make it available in all 2,500 by October (The Guardian). Meanwhile, Boots issued a legal warning to a pregnancy charity over its public campaign for more affordable emergency contraception. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) revealed the high street chain accused it of encouraging “personal abuse” and “harassment” of top Boots executives (Sky News).
Campbell Soup shares fell on Thursday after the US consumer-foods maker said that annual soup sales had cooled and were expected to remain lukewarm next year, prompting it to issue guidance that failed to satisfy investors. (The Financial Times £)
Carrefour’s shares fell on Thursday morning after the French retailer missed analyst expectations and reported a sharp fall in like-for-like income in its first-half results on Wednesday evening. (The Financial Times £)
The UK’s first commercial crops of lentils, grown on farms in Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Sussex and Wiltshire are being harvested this week before going on sale in the autumn (The Guardian)
Dalton Philips, the chief executive sacked by Wm Morrison in 2015, has re-emerged in his native Ireland in the top job at the Dublin Airport Authority. (The Times £)
Brazilian meatpacking behemoth JBS is facing a revolt from a minority shareholder at an extraordinary meeting on Friday that could decide the future of chief executive Wesley Batista, who admitted paying kickbacks to more than 1,800 Brazilian politicians. (The Financial Times £)
Middle England’s favourite retailer John Lewis has signed up an army of plumbers, electricians, decorators and gardeners to offer a new home maintenance service launching next month (The Guardian). John Lewis has already spent the summer testing out its Home Solutions service in Milton Keynes. Now six other locations in England and Wales are to be given the chance to book tradespeople through the service (The BBC).
The group behind Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito said that it was on track with its turnaround despite suffering a sharp decline in interim profits (The Times £). A raft of price cuts at Frankie & Benny’s owner Restaurant Group has cheered investors in spite of a drop in sales (The Telegraph). A confident update left investors hungry for The Restaurant Group shares yesterday, despite the firm reporting a fall in profits and revenue (The Daily Mail).