Waitrose and John Lewis

Bosses at John Lewis Partnership have said there are no plans to separate its struggling department stores from its Waitrose supermarkets and have ruled out selling a stake in the business to raise funds (The Times £).

The John Lewis Partnership is back in the black after three years of losses, but it is struggling to keep up with the resurgence of rival Marks and Spencer (Mail).

Owner of Waitrose and John Lewis has vowed to concentrate “unashamedly” on investing in its core retail business after diversion into housebuilding (The Times £).

An editorial in the Telegraph (£) reckons the answer to John Lewis’s problems was staring it in the face. “The retailer is on the right track at last – but its floundering has been costly.”

Another article in the Telegraph (£) looks at why John Lewis went back to basics in the battle to recover its mojo.

The business editorial in The Guardian says that its panic over at JLP but adds there is still a long way to go. “The pre-tax profit of £56m lags well behind the £400m that the group calls a sustainable annual return.”

The Grocer’s Daily Bread blog argues that the Waitrose ‘back to basics’ store approach bodes well for JLP’s turnaround. Read more here.

Unilever could face a potential row with shareholders after it emerged that the new boss of the consumer goods company can earn up to €17.4m (£14.9m) this year if he hits maximum targets (The Guardian).

Hong Kong-based activist fund Oasis Management has built a stake in the convenience foods group Greencore, raising the prospect of a shake-up at the UK’s biggest sandwich maker (Financial Times £).

The Telegraph (£) examines how Morrisons’ debt burden made it “a supermarket loser”, with the retailer’s fight to win back market share being undermined by a growing interest bill.

Deliveroo narrowed its losses last year as the average amount spent on orders increased amid higher grocery and restaurant price inflation (The Mail).

The Tempus shares column in The Times (£) argues that Deliveroo is still a tough gig for investors, rating the stock ‘avoid’. “Gig worker system risks higher costs and reputational damage. The company is yet to make a net profit despite attempts to slim down.”

Food delivery firm HelloFresh has denied taking subscriptions from customers who say they had cancelled their accounts (BBC News).

Fast food chain McDonald’s is experiencing technical problems in its restaurants, leaving customers unable to order food (BBC News).

Scientists have suggested snakes could replace other animals in a quest for sustainable meat (The Times £).

The UK and Turkey have started talks about a post-Brexit free trade agreement targeting the service sector of the economy (The Guardian).

The owner of Marlboro cigarettes is to sell $2.2bn (£1.7bn) of shares in AB InBev after the Bud Light brewer’s sales fell following a backlash over an ad campaign featuring a transgender influencer (Telegraph £).

Retail sales in the United States increased by less than expected last month, offering further evidence of growing pressure on spending in the world’s largest economy (The Times £).