Britain’s biggest grocer expects flat full-year profits as inflation continues to take a toll on its customers and suppliers (The Times £). The UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco said it would struggle to increase profits this year amid “unprecedented levels of inflation” across its supply chain (Financial Times £). Profits at Tesco halved last year to £753m in what the grocer called an “incredibly tough year for customers” as it battled “significant operating cost inflation” and wrote down the value of some properties (The Guardian). Tesco has reported a jump in annual sales but profits halved as it grappled with higher costs (BBC). The impacts of higher prices are being felt in the Tesco boardroom as profits have fallen despite an increase in sales (Sky News).

The boss of Tesco rebuffed claims that the country’s biggest retailer has profiteered while households struggle with high living costs. Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy hit back, saying it shielded customers from the full force of ‘unprecedented’ cost pressures it was facing. (Daily Mail)

The boss of Tesco claimed that a “meaningful number” of suppliers had agreed to the supermarket’s new voluntary fulfilment fee. (The Times £)

Tesco has signalled it is ready to slice the price of bread, as Britain’s biggest supermarket strives to compete with rivals Aldi and Lidl. (The Telegraph)

Tesco keen to keep suppliers on side after ‘tough year’, writes Sky’s Ian King. The supermarket giant’s amelioratory tone today suggests it is sensitive to supplier criticisms following previous bust-up over price rises. (Sky News)

The FT’s Lex column writes: “Flat profits would not normally be an excuse to splurge at the shops. But these are hardly ordinary times in UK food retailing… The scale of the business, weaker competition owing to leveraged buyouts and a moderating outlook for rate rises should all inspire confidence. Tesco looks like a decent investment at current levels.” (Financial Times £)

Alistair Osborne in The Times says that Tesco boss Murphy has recipe for growth. “There’s still miles to go, with the shares at only 269p. And, of course, Tesco is a far smaller beast today than the one that fancied itself a global player… Murphy’s not there yet. But he has a recipe of sorts. Deliver on his strategy and shareholders may even see some everyday higher prices.” (The Times £)

The billionaire Issa brothers and their private equity partners TDR Capital stumped up just £200m for their 2020 deal to buy Asda, the UK supermarket chain valued at £6.8bn, corporate filings reveal. A series of filings by businesses owned by the brothers and TDR in the tax havens of Jersey and Luxembourg show that all but £200m of that sum was provided by loading more costs on to their already heavily indebted petrol stations business, EG Group. (Financial Times £)

Sainsbury’s has followed Tesco in cutting the price of milk by 5p a pint as supermarkets take advantage of a spring boost to production amid lacklustre demand (The Guardian). Sainsbury’s has followed its rival Tesco in cutting the price of its milk (BBC).

A botched banknote rollout in Nigeria has affected sales at PZ Cussons, but higher prices have helped the consumer goods company to increase its revenue nonetheless (The Times £). Imperial Leather owner PZ Cussons has achieved its sixth successive quarter of revenue growth thanks to price hikes and growing demand across all regions (Daily Mail).

Imperial Brands has reiterated its annual guidance for turnover and operating profit growth on the back of strong demand for next-generation products (Daily Mail).

Consumers are swapping from fresh to frozen food in a bid to combat rising grocery prices, retailers have said. Frozen food is outperforming fresh in supermarkets at the moment, data from research firm Kantar suggests. (BBC)

The trade deficit widened in February as export volumes declined to more than 9% below the 2019 pre-pandemic average. (The Times £)