The American owner of Asda is preparing to name the head of its Chinese operations as the new boss of Britain’s third biggest supermarket chain. Sean Clarke, head of Walmart’s Chinese business, will take over as chief executive of Asda from Andy Clarke. The move would shake up what had been expected to be a smooth handover to Roger Burnley, a former senior manager at Sainsbury’s who quit the rival chain last year to join Asda as its chief operating officer. (Sky News, The Times £). See The Grocer article to first link Clarke with the job here.
Poundland looks set to announce a dramatic slump in profits – raising fresh fears over the health of Britain’s struggling high streets. The company is expected to reveal annual profits fell to just £4million in the year to the end of March from £36.2m the previous year. The figures will represent a disappointing finale for Jim McCarthy who is standing down as chief executive at the end of the month after a decade in charge. (The Daily Mail)
The weekend papers have been looking at what the launch of Amazon Fresh in the UK means for the UK grocery industry.
The Observer looks at whether Amazon can deliver a profit in the UK grocery market, noting “British supermarkets are nervous about the launch of Amazon Fresh. But it hasn’t exactly set the US alight yet”. (The Guardian)
The Times (£) asks if big four retailers resist Jeff Bezos’s invasion? It argues: “For Tesco and the rest, succeeding in Britain is all that matters. For Amazon, food retail is an experiment that it will look to replicate across the world… The best placed of the supermarkets to cope with the onslaught might be Morrisons, for years the laggard in a sector of underperformers.” (The Times £)
The Telegraph feature the “all-out war as Amazon Fresh takes on the supermarkets”. It writes that the launch of Amazon Fresh delivered “a kick in teeth to the nation’s supermarkets as they dust themselves off from a savage price war”. (The Telegraph)
Yet again there is are plenty of column inches devoted to the ongoing saga over the collapse of BHS. Retail tycoon Mike Ashley has opened a new front in the war of words surrounding the fate of BHS, claiming there is still time to save thousands of jobs as he made a third approach for the collapsed department (The Financial Times £).
Sir Philip Green has called on Frank Field, the chairman of the parliamentary committee probing the collapse of high street mainstay BHS, to resign after accusing him of bias (The Financial Times £, The Guardian, The Telegraph). Meanwhile a Tory MP warned Sir Philip Green that he could be stripped of his knighthood if he refused to appear before the Commons committees investigating his sale of BHS (The Times £). MPs are preparing to invoke a list of sanctions against Sir Philip Green should the billionaire retailer fail to appear before this week’s parliamentary select committee. (The Guardian)
Sir Philip Green considered selling Dominic Chappell the bulk of his Arcadia Group high street empire as well as BHS, a previously undisclosed document reveals. (The Times £)
The chairwoman of the BHS staff hardship trust has called on billionaire Sir Philip Green to plug the deficit in the staff pension fund and to make a donation to help those who face financial crisis as a result of the company’s collapse. (The Daily Mail)
The Observer has a profile of Sir Philip Green asking “is this the end of the retail king?” (The Guardian)
Elsewhere, Greggs is planning to ramp up its healthy eating options as customer demand has surged. Chief executive Roger Whiteside said Britain’s biggest baker is considering branching out even further from its traditional staples of sausage rolls and doughnuts. (The Daily Mail)
Marks & Spencer has again paid its executives bonuses that are based on targets which ignore millions of pounds of goods returned, despite warnings from an adviser that this was ‘inappropriate’. M&S admitted the practice in that year’s annual report, when it said it sold £800million of goods online but £151million of that was brought back. (The Daily Mail)
A British company has been found liable for the first time for victims of modern slavery in a landmark high court judgment. The judge, Justice Supperstone, found in favour of six Lithuanian men who were trafficked to the UK and brought a civil case claiming compensation for being severely exploited by the Kent-based gangmaster firm that employed them, DJ Houghton Chicken Catching Services. (The Guardian)
Cargill and Bunge, two of the world’s largest agricultural commodity traders, are refusing to cut ties with a leading Malaysian palm oil producer and trader, in spite of allegations that it failed to prevent its subsidiaries’ involvement in deforestation in Indonesia. (The Financial Times £)
Britain’s new relationship with the rest of the EU would take at least seven years to settle after a vote to leave, the president of the European Council warned (The Times £), meanwhile, The Bank of England will face overwhelming pressure to slash interest rates to new lows if Britain opts to quit the EU (The Times £).