Shares in Ocado rose after a legal victory in the US over patents for its robots, but poor sales took the sparkle off (The Daily Mail). After the ruling, Ocado accused AutoStore of having launched a “misconceived attempt” to disrupt its transatlantic expansion (The Times £). Online grocer Ocado has won an important victory in a patent dispute with Norwegian rival AutoStore, sending its shares higher and offsetting a mixed fourth-quarter trading update (The Financial Times £). 

Ocado has promised the “best ever Christmas” is ahead for its food retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer thanks to booming demand for online grocery delivery, despite shoppers buying less on each visit to its website (The Guardian). Ocado has touted a ‘best-ever’ Christmas ahead despite seeing sales fall in the last three months due to worker shortages at its warehouses, and as more customers abandon the online grocer and return to stores (The Daily Mail). Online grocer Ocado has revealed a slowdown in sales as it battles back from the impact of a warehouse fire, with labour shortages and the pace of price increases adding to its woes (Sky News). 

Tesco has seen off the threat of a pre-Christmas strike by workers at nine distribution centres as it agreed to a new pay deal with trade union Usdaw. (Sky News

Inflation rose to 5.1% last month, hitting a fresh decade high as the cost of living squeeze on households intensified (Sky News). The cost of living surged by 5.1% in the 12 months to November, up from 4.2% the month before, and its highest level since September 2011 (The BBC). 

Nightmare before Christmas as businesses warn of lockdown by stealth. Retailers and hospitality and travel firms brace for a tough winter as ‘confusing’ guidelines hit consumer confidence. (The Telegraph

Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge has warned “places will crumble without help” due to new COVID restrictions, echoing concerns raised by music venues who say they are on the brink of collapse. (Sky News

Farmers have accused the government of failing to listen to their warnings over the future of domestic food production, after concerns ministers would not increase the number of seasonal worker visas next year. (The Guardian

Half of businesses are struggling to recruit new staff, a survey has found. (Sky News

Chanel has appointed Leena Nair, a 30-year veteran of consumer goods group Unilever, as global chief executive, turning to an outsider to the luxury sector as it seeks to bounce back from the coronavirus-induced hit to profits. (The Financial Times £

The FT writes: “Names like Zoom, Peloton, Ocado, Shopify and Wayfair were crowned “the Covid winners” due to the fortunate positions they found themselves in through little skill of their own. But the lingering question for these businesses, and their share prices, was whether their explosive top line growth during pandemic just represented future growth being pulled forward into one short year, or a new normal of market dominance.” (The Financial Times £