Shares in Ocado bounced off four-year lows amid speculation that the online supermarket could benefit if the US grocery giant Kroger merges with its smaller rival (The Times £). Ocado shares soared on hopes it would benefit from a merger of the two biggest supermarkets in the US (The Daily Mail).

US grocery chain Kroger is in talks to buy rival Albertsons in a deal that would bring together two of the country’s largest supermarkets and test the Biden administration’s antitrust policies. (The Financial Times £)

The chief executive of Walgreens, the US owner of Boots, has said that the decision to shelve a sale of the UK chemist and healthcare chain was a “pause in the process”. (The Times £)

Boots has benefited from shoppers returning to high streets and travelling more, boosting sales shortly after its US owner abandoned plans to sell the UK health and beauty retailer (The Financial Times £). Surging sun cream demand this summer pushed sales at Boots back above pre-pandemic levels for the first time (The Daily Mail).

“Big Four supermarket merger may be more palatable for regulator” suggests the FT. “It is possible to argue that the growth of Aldi has already taken the UK back to a big five, the situation that prevailed through much of the 1980s and 1990s and ended when Morrisons acquired Safeway in 2004. Or possibly even a big six, given that Lidl’s share now is bigger than Morrisons’ was in 2004.” (The Financial Times £)

Pub and restaurant owners face a bleak winter. For hospitality entrepreneurs hoping the public will happily spend on entertainment in the run-up to Christmas, the timing [of economic turmoil] could not be worse. Some are having to cut their own salaries to prop up their businesses and many are reducing personal spending. (The Financial Times £)

The sharp rise in borrowing costs since Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini-budget” means that most of Britain’s warehouses, offices and shopping centres will lose as much as a fifth of their value over the coming two years. (The Times £)

The pound has risen as speculation mounts about a possible U-turn over the mini-budget. (The BBC)