Retailers J Sainsbury, JD Sports and Dunelm have all upgraded their profit forecasts after strong trading over Christmas helped offset problems in supply chains and rising costs (The Financial Times £).
Sainsbury’s is to make £60m more in annual profits than predicted after enjoying better than expected food and drink sales over Christmas as shoppers bought more champagne than ever before (The Guardian).
Sainsbury’s has raised its forecast for full-year profits on the back of bumper food and drink sales over Christmas and a record New Year performance (The Times £).
Total retail sales on a year-on-year basis were 2.9% lower than a year ago, but food and drinks sales edged up 0.1% in the six weeks to 8 January (The Mail).
The head of Sainsbury’s has warned that households face a “challenging” year as the supermarket escalated a grocery price war by promising to keep food bills as low as possible (The Telegraph).
A deeper dive into the results by the retail editor of The Times (£) has the headline: “Sainsbury’s enjoys the difference as Aldi price match pays off.”
Festive boost for retailers adds to Bank of England’s inflation woes, writes The Guardian in its business editorial. “Given the strength in trading, it’s no wonder some firms think they can make price rises stick.”
The Telegraph’s City editorial offers scathing commentary about Sainsbury’s: “A closer look under the bonnet and Sainsbury’s is far from firing on all cylinders, with Argos shaping up to be another misstep from the grocer’s dealmaking team after the calamity of its abandoned blockbuster merger attempt with Asda.”
The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) writes that higher prices mean better earnings for the UK grocers.
Pret a Manger is increasing pay for the second time in four months as labour shortages force up wages across the hospitality and retail industries (The Guardian).
Beyond Meat has become one of the most shorted companies on the US stock market as investors fret over weaker sales and scepticism grows over the plant-based meat boom (The Financial Times £).
Investors lose patience with Unilever’s ethical dilemma (The Telegraph). Marmite maker’s sustainability drive is proving as divisive as the spread among shareholders.
‘Mayonnaise with ‘purpose’ rebuke shows discontent Unilever is facing,’ says The Financial Times (£). “Shares are only slightly higher than when consumer goods giant fought off a bid from Kraft Heinz.”
The Mail asks Unilever become too woke for its own good?
An opinion column in The Financial Times (£) says ‘A Boots buyout might still be big, but rocket science isn’t needed.’ “Any buyer of the UK high street chain should quickly find ways to improve its fortunes.”
Customers ordering food deliveries may have to be more flexible on how long they wait if gig economy costs keep rising, said the head of German food delivery app Delivery Hero (The Financial Times £).
US consumer price growth rose at the fastest pace in almost four decades in December, stoking the Federal Reserve’s fears about the threat of elevated inflation and its consequences for the economic recovery (The Financial Times £).
Consumer prices rose 7 per cent on the previous year in December — the fastest pace of growth since June 1982 — and increased 0.5 per cent on the previous month, according to official data (The Times £).
The news represents a blow to the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve, which until recently have characterized soaring prices as a “transitory” phenomenon brought about by supply chain issues triggered by the pandemic (The Guardian).