Amazon could buy Morrisons, which already provides the online giant with food deliveries to UK customers using its Panty and Prime services, according to analysts, reports The Independent and The Times (£). TCC Global’s Bryan Roberts said a takeover bid from Amazon was “not beyond the realms of possibility”.
Morrisons chief executive Davit Potts and finance director Trevor Strain, batted away questions about the impact of the proposed Sainsbury’s merger with Asda on the announcement of same-store sales up 1.8% excluding fuel in the 13 weeks to 6 May and group sales up 3.6% Financial Times (£).
It was the Bradford-based supermarket chain’s 10th consecutive quarter of rising sales and its best like-for-like sales growth in eight years, The Times (£) notes. Underlying profit was up 11% to £374m, it says. Potts said the business was “now open for business as a wholesaler”. The Daily Telegraph says it is “wonky” veg and the return of Safeway products that has kept Morrisons’ tills ringing. The Daily Mail says the business defied the “Beast from the East” which Greggs blamed for poor trading.
A cross-party group of MPs has launched a new inquiry into the threat high streets face from online, The Guardian. The housing, communities and local government committee will consider what high streets and town centres could look like by 2030. Committee members will also consider whether councils have the correct planning, licensing, tax-raising and other tools needed to help local areas.
Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon has warned that the world’s largest retail chain faces extinction if it does not move into new areas, the Financial Times (£). He said in New Delhi yesterday that the US giant was on the hunt for more deals following its 77% investment in India’s Flipkart for $16bn (£11.8bn). India, China and Latin America were three priorities for expansion, McMillon said.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis “bagged” £4.9m – a 15% pay increase – after he pocketed almost 1m shares when a long-term performance plan paid out, says The Daily Mail. Chairman Alan Stewart’s pay increased £600,000 to £2.8m as a result of the share plan.
New research from Maximise UK claims at least 6%, or 73, of a combined Sainsbury’s/Asda supermarkets are at risk if the Competition and Markets Authority is to allow the merger though. The figure excludes convenience stores, BBC.
London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan has decided to ban junk-food ads on the Underground and buses in a bid to address childhood obesity, The Guardian.
Peers have warned shoppers face a significant increase in food prices if the government fails to secure a free-trade deal with the European Union (EU), The Guardian. The warning came from the Lords EU energy and environment subcommittee in a report that suggested UK ports would be choked with delays if EU food imports were subject to the same border checks as other imported produce. The UK government has only now asked business groups to map their supply chains to flag the areas of the economy most at risk if Brexit results in extra trading costs on exporters, says Bloomberg.
Wine buyers are warning of a national drought of rosé, particularly from Provence, which The Guardian says could play havoc with Britain’s barbecues.
A government crackdown has led to more than 200,000 people receiving a total of £15.6m in pay that employers previously denied them when they paid less than the minimum wage. Argos was the worst offender, It underpaid 12,167 people close to £1.5m, says The Independent.
US imports of pork, apples and pet food into China are among products Chinese inspectors are delaying, exacerbating tensions days before bilateral trade talks are scheduled to resume, the Financial Times (£).
Manufacturing output fell 0.1% in March compared with February, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show, The Times (£). The British Chambers of Commerce said the UK’s economic performance in the opening months of the year had been “underwhelming”.
Other ONS figures show that the trade deficit in goods and services with the rest of the world widened by £1.9bn to £3.1bn in March compared with February. Import growth of 5.8 per cent outstripped a 2.2% increase in exports, The Times (£). Economists warned the sweet spot UK exporters enjoyed over the past year because of the weaker pound and limited fallout from the Brexit vote was coming to an end.
Heineken’s European region president Stefan Orlowski is being talked of as a potential success to Jean-François van Boxmeer as group chief executive in 2021, says The Times (£).
The subject of “lifestyle” taxes, such as those on beer and wine in Scotland and the UK-wider sugar taxes, is explored in The Independent which says that economists dispute the value of such “nanny state antics”.
Reverse vending machines in Co-op pop-up stores will be installed at four big music festivals this summer which will return a deposit of up to 30p in the form of a voucher when a bottle is inserted, The Times (£) The vouchers will be redeemable for purchases.