coronavirus face mask

Morrisons and Sainsbury’s will start to enforce the wearing of face coverings in store

Downing Street has put England on notice that it is ready to tighten coronavirus restrictions further unless public adherence to the existing rules improves (The Financial Times £).

Morrisons has said it will refuse to serve people who do not wear face masks and even call in police as part of tougher policies to stem increasing coronavirus infections (The Guardian).

Sainsbury’s has joined Morrisons in saying it will enforce the wearing of masks in its supermarkets, as retailers call on the police to enforce regulations inside stores (The Guardian). Trained security guards would be posted at shop entrances, Sainsbury’s said, to challenge any customers not wearing a mask or shopping in groups, and the number of customers allowed into stores at any one time had been significantly reduced.

The police have set themselves up for a conflict with ministers by insisting that they will not enforce mask-wearing in supermarkets amid growing calls for tougher Covid measures including a crackdown on the number of people in workplaces (The Guardian).

Supermarkets in Northern Ireland are struggling to fill their shelves because of the new post-Brexit trading arrangements, with hundreds of products caught up in supply-chain delays (The Financial Times £).

Questions have been raised over The Hut Group boss’s landlord role (The Guardian). Matthew Moulding is leasing back properties to the firm he founded, raising eyebrows in the City.

A surge in online shopping helped to push up the Post Office’s income over Christmas, as web-based retailers escaped the Covid-19 restrictions that bedevilled the high street (The Guardian).

Marks and Spencer is set to acquire upmarket womenswear brand Jaeger out of administration in what would be its first fashion acquisition in almost two decades (The Financial Times £).

The fashion brand was formerly owned by Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill retail empire (The Telegraph).

The retailer is expected to buy only Jaeger’s intellectual property, which would allow it to sell Jaeger-branded goods on its website as a third-party brand. M&S did not disclose the amount paid, but it is understood to be about £5m (The Times £).

Retailers face a financial “bloodbath” as accountants strained by the pressure of tough audits and lockdown restrictions prepare for talks with regulators over giving companies more time to file their accounts (The Telegraph).

At least 250,00 small businesses across the UK are set to fold unless they are given more help to fight through the pandemic, industry leaders have warned (The Mail).

Commercial property giant British Land has collected less than half of the rent due from retailers on its estate as many struggled to meet payments after being forced to close down due to stricter lockdown rules (The Mail).

The chief executive of British American Tobacco has pledged shares in the world’s second largest cigarette manufacturer worth almost £6 million for a personal loan (The Times £).