Deloitte has resigned as auditor of EG Group, the UK petrol stations company whose billionaire owners just agreed a £6.8bn takeover of grocery chain Asda, because of concerns over its governance and internal controls, according to four people briefed on the matter (The Financial Times £).
The retailer did not state the reason for Deloitte’s resignation, but it is understood that the Big Four accounting firm resigned owing to governance concerns and a view that the group’s controls had not improved in line with its growth (The Times £).
Owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa told bondholders that KPMG had been brought in after Deloitte resigned with immediate effect (The Mail).
Ocado has lost the right to open a new depot in north London after the local council ruled that a planning application was misleading (The Telegraph).
The online grocer faced a backlash from parents who feared that pollution caused by delivery lorries would damage children’s health (The Mail).
While Italian, Chinese and Indian menus remain the most popular choices of takeaway, demand for Big Macs and hot Greggs sausage rolls is helping to drive strong growth at Just Eat Takeaway.com (The Times £).
Shares in Just Eat raced to a record high as the Covid-19 pandemic boosts demand for takeaways (The Mail).
The Financial Times (£) Lex column says ”appetite for sector is strong, but investors should beware biting off more than they can chew.” The paper warns that competition and a bounty of fresh capital remain big threats.
A further 362 jobs were lost in the casual dining sector yesterday after the closure of 26 Gourmet Burger Kitchen outlets in a pre-pack administration (The Times £).
Ranjit Boparan, the millionaire poultry producer, has snapped up casual dining chain Gourmet Burger Kitchen just months after he struck a deal to rescue Carluccio’s restaurants (The Financial Times £). The sale to Boparan Restaurant Group, which will save 651 jobs, comes six months after its previous backers withdrew funding from the business as it struggled to stay afloat.
The burger chain, which was owned by the South African company Famous Brands, which also owns Wimpy in the UK, was put on the market as it struggled amid the pandemic and high street lockdown (The Guardian).
GBK said it had started to see improvements in trading last year after a major restructuring process in 2018, which saw it shut a raft of sites (The Mail).
Marston’s, the UK pub group, is set to lay off 2,150 staff after a swath of new restrictions on trading in pubs and bars hit consumer confidence (The Financial Times £).
The Wolverhampton-based company said 2,150 pub-based roles that are currently subject to furlough – around 15% of its total staff – are set to be axed (The Telegraph).
Walmart will spread its Black Friday discounts in the US over several days throughout November, the latest sign of how the pandemic is upending retailers’ plans for the all-important holiday shopping season (The Financial Times £).
Shops will offer cashback without consumers needing to make a purchase, under Treasury proposals to protect people’s access to cash. In 2019 consumers received £3.8bn in cash when paying for items at a till, making it the second most popular way of withdrawing money behind ATMs (The Guardian).