The UK economy shrunk faster than during the financial crisis in April, with output falling over 20% as the coronavirus hit (The Financial Times £). The fall in output in April was almost 10 times larger than pre-coronavirus levels (The Telegraph).

The government has abandoned plans for full border checks on goods coming from the EU next year, choosing a “flexible” approach to post-Brexit border checks on goods imported from the EU in order to assist businesses already struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as Downing Street is expected to rule out an extention to the Brexit transition period, despite talks with the Eu being stalled (Sky News).

Unilever’s decision to move from a dual-headed structure to a single company based in the UK brought political attention to the FMCG giant with Boris Johnson hailing the plan as a “clear vote of confidence in the UK”, while the Dutch minister for economic affairs said he “regretted” the decision (The Financial Times £). In 2018, Unilver had attempted a reverse strategy moving its company to The Netherlands. However it now denied claims of a U-turn stating the move would make it easier to carry out acquisitions and divestitures - including the potential sale of its tea business (The Telegraph). Unilever Chairman Nils Andersen insisted the move will not be a U-turn as operationally very little will change (The Times £).

“When is a U-turn not a U-turn? When it’s being executed by U-nilever, apparently,” writes the Telegraph (The Telegraph). But the newspaper also stressed that “simplifying Unilever will be a complicated task” (The Telegraph). 

Just Eat Takeaway agreed to acquire US-based food delivery app Grubhub for $7.3bn in a deal creating the largest food delivery business outside of China (The Financial Times £, The Times).

The deal was sealed within three weeks after newspaper reports that Uber was interested in merging its Uber Eats business with Grubhub. The Financial Times wrote that Just Eat’s CEO Jitse Groen “realised that if he wanted JET to be the dominant global player, he had to stop Uber getting its hands on Grubhub” (The Financial Times £).

Ocado has lost a contempt of court claim against a City lawyer accused of burning corporate espionage evidence in its wider battle with rival Today Development Partners. The online retailer as said it wants to appeal the judgement branding the decision as “surprising and disappointing” (The Telegraph, The Times £).

More than a third of investors voted against Morrisons’ pay policy at the grocer’s AGM yesterday. The main cause of rebellion was a 24% pension deal to CEO David Potts and COO Trevor Strain compared to 5% for shopfloor staff (The Guardian). At a virtual annual general meeting 34.8% of Morrisons shareholders voted against the retailer’s pay policy following the pension backlash (The Times £).

Beer sales have slumped to their lowest level in 20 years in the first three months of the year, as lockdown forced the closure of 47k pubs across the country. Pubs, bars, supermarkets and shops sold 1.5bn pints of beer between January and March, down 7.2% on the same period of 2019 and the worst figures since 2000 (The Guardian).

Beyond Meat has embarked on an “aggressive” pricing strategy in Europe, while initiating discussions with fast-food chains in the region to offer its products. The US plant-based meat giant has launched its first European manufacturing facility in the Netherlands to boost output capacity and offer products in a more timely manner to customers (The Financial Times £).

B&M has said it could open more stores than planned after benefiting from thrifty shoppers looking for bargains during lockdown. The company has a goal to bring its UK stores to 950, from current 656 outlets (The Financial Times £).

Poundstrecher is drawing plans for a CVA, putting more than half of its stores are at risk of closure, as it attempts to secure a restructuring plan that will seek steep rent cuts from landlords (Sky News).

Meanwhile, almost 200 redundancies are expected at the British arm of Belgian bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien after a rescue sale to a subsidiary of BrunchCo21 SA resulted in a deal that will preserve 16 of Le Pain Quotidien’s 26 UK sites (Sky News).