Source: Waitrose

Sharon White (pictured) and John Lewis are ’trapped in an unhappy marriage’, according to The Times

More than half of the 61-strong partnership council of John Lewis have delivered a stinging rebuke to Dame Sharon White and her leadership (The Times £). The partnership’s ruling council of elected members made clear its anger at a third year of losses and the axing of staff bonuses by voting down the performance of the boss of the John Lewis department store chain and Waitrose supermarkets. Just four of the 55 votes from council members showed confidence in the partnership’s progress under her leadership over the past year (Daily Mail).

The John Lewis Partnership has lost sight of its “core ethos” of focusing on customers and colleagues amid pressure to deliver “short-term” results, a former Waitrose loyalty chief has claimed. (The Times £)

The Guardian asks “What’s gone wrong at John Lewis?” after details of the vote count, published on the John Lewis Partnership website on Friday night, revealed a significant rebellion at the employee-owned business. (The Guardian)

Sharon White and John Lewis are trapped in an unhappy marriage, writes Oliver Shah in The Times. “The combination of poor performance and rumblings of internal discontent can last for only so long. It’s not easy to see a catalyst for improvement — but, as ever with John Lewis’s labyrinthine governance, it’s also not easy to see how a divorce might be triggered.” (The Times £)

Immigration and food prices must increase to solve the food crisis, ministers are to say at a summit. Farmers and Defra ministers have been lobbying the Home Office to increase the number of temporary visas for agricultural workers, but a senior Defra source said home secretary Suella Braverman was “ideologically opposed” to such a move. (The Guardian)

Commenting on this week’s food summit at No. 10, The Observer writes: “Few of those attending Tuesday’s summit will be in any doubt about the pressures in the food supply chain. Producers, processors and retailers alike have had margins squeezed amid rising costs and a tight labour market. However, it is not clear what can be achieved by bringing together groups with, arguably, competing interests. All will want to keep their slice of the pie.” (The Guardian)

Food industry experts say soaring energy costs and the supply chain disruption set off by the invasion of Ukraine are still the main driver of price increases. They list other things, too, including labour, the impact of the climate crisis on harvests and, for the UK, new Brexit trade barriers. (The Guardian)

Alex Brummer in The Mail writes: “On the surface the UK would appear to have one of the most competitive retail set-ups with four major supermarket chains plus the challenge from the German discounters… Yet there is a reluctance in many of the chains to substitute pricey branded items with ‘own labels’ and an obsession with maintaining profit margins. There is not much sign of rebalancing the interest of the consumer with those of management and shareholders.” (Daily Mail)

After stomaching some of the steepest price rises in decades on everyday goods from bread to toilet roll, shoppers are beginning to balk. Sales volumes at several of the world’s largest suppliers of consumer packaged goods have proved unexpectedly resilient… but as they attempt to restore margins to pre-pandemic levels, consumer goods companies are encountering resistance. Some powerful supermarket chains are increasingly unwilling to accept their pricing demands. (Financial Times £)

The boss of Tesco was paid £4.4m for the past year as shoppers continue to face record rises in food prices (The Times £). The boss of Tesco earned almost £4.5m last year despite profits halving and price rises for shoppers (The Guardian). Tesco’s boss was paid more than £4million last year even as shoppers faced soaring food prices (Daily Mail).

The value of Tesco’s pension fund has plunged by £9 billion and dived into deficit after a series of bets on supposedly ‘safe’ investments turned sour. (Daily Mail)

Millions of Tesco Clubcard holders are being urged to redeem their vouchers by the end of the month, or risk losing them. (Sky News)

Matthew Moulding blamed “market manipulation” for the value destruction that has seen his company become vulnerable to private equity takeovers (The Times £). THG has ended talks about a possible takeover bid by Apollo saying the private equity company’s offer is an inadequate valuation of the online retail tech company (The Guardian).

French drinks company Pernod Ricard has halted all exports of its brands to Russia, bowing to public pressure following an outcry after it continued to export brands such as Jameson whiskey as war raged in Ukraine. (Financial Times £)

Glass half-empty for Diageo as the lockdown boom fades. While the business is no doubt stronger than it was in 2019, questions linger about its North American market now the lockdown-induced sales boom is fading. (The Times £)

The boss of Mondelez has moved to defend its controversial takeover of Cadbury. Dirk Van de Put claimed Cadbury had needed to be taken over to improve its flagging fortunes, insisting that Mondelez had made the British chocolate company a much better business since the deal’s completion in 2010 (The Times £). Cadbury needed to be taken over to improve its flagging business, the chief executive of its US owner has claimed (Telegraph).

Demand for supply chain managers has surged following a series of disruptions to global trade, propelling once-overlooked professionals to increasingly important positions in multinational companies. (Financial Times £)

So-called sin companies, which sell tobacco and alcohol and are shunned by ethical investors, are unlikely standard-bearers in the battle to close the gender pay gap. (Daily Mail)

Currently global demand for sweets and chocolates appears to be holding up, as producers try to limit how much they pass cost increases onto customers. (BBC)

The restaurant group owned by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay narrowed losses to £1m last year as sales more than tripled after Covid restrictions were eased. (The Guardian)

An ice cream parlour has changed the name of one its products after a “polite” request from Marks & Spencer. (BBC)

Why has fake meat lost its sizzle? The first problem is that it has not won enough converts. In the US, sales of plant-based meat substitutes have plateaued following a boost from pandemic stockpiling. The second issue is that plant-based meat is more expensive than the real thing. The third is low barriers to market entry. (Financial Times £)