John Lewis could face pressure to sell off parts of its vast property estate following a downturn in its fortunes as sales slump, experts fear (The Telegraph).
Paula Nickolds is in line for a £750,000 payoff after her shock departure from the John Lewis Partnership, which has been plunged into chaos by dismal trading and a contentious restructuring. (The Times £)
After the dramatic exit of its department store boss, the stakes have been raised for incoming chairwoman Sharon White, writes The Times. “She will walk into the central London headquarters of an institution engulfed in crisis,” it writes. (The Times £)
The Guardian asks what note will Sir Charlie Mayfield, the outgoing chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, leave for his successor, Dame Sharon White, when she takes over next month? “If it begins “there’s no money left”, Liam Byrne-style, it wouldn’t be a surprise, such is the chaotic state of affairs he is leaving behind.” (The Guardian)
Takeaway.com hailed the creation of a “dream combination” with Just Eat yesterday after declaring victory in the £6 billion bidding battle for the FTSE 100 food delivery group (The Times £). Takeaway.com has beaten Naspers in its months-long battle for Just Eat, after winning the backing of shareholders in the London-based food ordering pioneer for its £6bn takeover (The Financial Times £). More than 80% of Just Eat shareholders have now backed the offer, clearing a key approval threshold and paving the way to create one of the world’s largest food delivery platforms (The Telegraph). Confirmation of the deal is a blow to rival Prosus, the Amsterdam-listed offshoot of the South African tech group Naspers, which tried to forestall the merger agreement with a rival offer (The Guardian).
More than 2,800 jobs are at risk at Asda as the supermarket owned by American grocer Walmart looks to slash costs (The Telegraph). Asda has begun a consultation with 2,832 employees who work in back-office roles in its supermarkets (The Guardian).
Cheap malbec and rioja helped to lure festive shoppers to Lidl as the discount grocery chain declared itself the winner in the Christmas battle of the supermarket aisles (The Times £). Cheese and wine pushed sales 11% higher at Lidl during the festive period to make it the UK’s fastest growing grocer over Christmas (The Telegraph).
WH Smith risks becoming the first major company to face a pay backlash this year after an influential adviser warned investors over the pension award to its new chief executive (Sky News). The Investment Association has issued its strongest-possible objection to the payment, because it says it is not in line with that of the average worker (The BBC).
Shoppers shunned the high street over the crucial Christmas period, with December footfall down 3.5% from a year earlier. (The Telegraph)
Discounting heightens pain for UK retail’s squeezed middle, writes The FT. Selfridges and Aldi lift sales but mid-tier chains suffer Black Friday hangover. (The Financial Times £)
The FT suggests the official UK retail figures released later this week will paint a better picture than those released by the BRC last week. However, its says that UK economic optimism depends on Brexit clarity and that economic growth in 2020 will depend on politics, trade and EU negotiations. (The Financial Times £)
Blow for high street as Mothercare shuts and Debenhams struggles - The British high street suffered another blow as two of the country’s most famous brands closed dozens of stores and another retailer battled to avoid the same fate. (The Times £)
Graham Ruddick in The Times writes: “It is clear that many retailers are closing shops and some high streets are struggling, but how much of this is because they are doing a poor job and other retailers and high streets are succeeding in their place, and how much is it because the high street is in fundamental decline as shoppers go online instead?” (The Times £)
Bankruptcy proceedings designed to save struggling companies have resulted in failure in more than half the cases where they have been used, according to research by estate agency Colliers International. (The Financial Times £)
Sluggish growth dragged shares in B&M lower on Friday, after its sales over the festive period left investors decidedly unimpressed (The Times £).
A new generation of farmers is embracing technology and diversification, from converting old buildings into holiday lets and buying robotic milking machines to investing in green and renewable energy. (The Times £)
Panera Bread is to reduce the proportion of meat-based items on its menu by a third, as the US soups-to-sandwich chain anticipates that the rising demand for alternative ingredients will gather pace. (The Financial Times £)