Bakkavor, a top supplier of Marks & Spencer ready meals is leading a pack of British companies heading for a London stock market float, according to The Times (£). The Lincolnshire-based supplier of microwave meals to M&S, Waitrose, Costa Coffee and Sainsbury’s, is exploring plans to join the market later this year with its long-term adviser Rothschild. The talks, which are at an early stage, could result in a float worth hundreds of millions of pounds. (The Times £)

The Times (£) looks at the supermarkets’ surprisingly strong Christmas trading updates. It writes that the supermarkets enjoyed a better Christmas than expected — taking the fight back to the discounters. But does this herald a revival? It quotes a source saying: “The danger for both [Tesco and Morrisons] is that people declare victory when their chief executives are making far lower profits than the two guys who just got fired”. (The Times £)

Taking a wider focus, The Telegraph writes: “Festive sales may have been surprisingly strong but the deluge of data still served to highlight the widening gulf between online players and traditional bricks-and-mortar retailing, which continues to pile the pressure on the latter.” (The Telegraph)

Mary Portas is urging the Government to overhaul the archaic business rates system as new research shows that small shops will bear the brunt of looming rises. The so-called Queen of Shops has met Business Secretary Greg Clark to press for a freeze on looming rates rises. (The Telegraph)

Consumers face the sharpest rise in prices in more than two years, as the fall in the value of sterling stokes inflation. Official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week is expected to show annual consumer prices inflation running at 1.4% in December, the highest rate since August 2014. (The Times £)

The pound has fallen below $1.20 amid reports Theresa May will set Britain on course for a “hard Brexit” in a major speech. Sterling slid to its lowest level against the dollar since October’s “flash crash” in Asian trade ahead of the address - in which the Prime Minister is expected to signal that Britain will quit the European Union’s single market. (Sky News, The BBC)

The FT looks at executive pay and the supposed best-practice policies of John Lewis. “Government proposals to force companies to disclose the ratio between top bosses and average workers’ pay is no bad thing… But those who think JLP should be a blueprint for all employers miss the fact that JLP’s structure is unusual — it only has to keep staff happy. And even then not all of them all of the time.” (The Financial Times £)

The humble fruit sticker may seem an unlikely cause for environmental concern but removing it from produce could create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions. In response to consumer demand for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have joined forces to run a trial to replace sticky labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes with a laser mark. (The Guardian)

The Telegraph has an interview with Cranswick chief executive Adam Couch. Every week, British pig and poultry producer Cranswick ships out 1,000 tonnes of fresh pork to China. There, demand is rising steadily as the country’s burgeoning middle classes grow richer and consume ever greater quantities of the popular white meat. (The Telegraph)

Salmon retail prices set to leap owing to infestations of sea lice. Wholesale cost rose 50% in 2016 as fish farmers from Scotland to Norway and Chile tried to tackle parasite problem. (The Guardian)

A Portuguese cash-and-carry tycoon has renewed his attack on a London-listed vodka distiller after accusing its board of treating shareholders with “disdain”. Luis Amaral, who owns 9.7% of Stock Spirits, said the company “lacked transparency” and had failed to provide an adequate trading update for seven months. (The Times £)

Co-op Bank has agreed to pump millions into the pension scheme of the Britannia Building Society. The struggling lender will hand the group’s pension trustees £50 million over the next seven years, as well as placing a £137 million portfolio of top-rated mortgages or debt into a custodian account with another bank as security for the scheme. (The Times £)

Writing in The Sunday Times (£) Luke Johnson criticises the make-up of the board of Costa Coffee-owner Whitbread. “The board of Whitbread has 10 directors. Not one of the six non-executive directors has any previous experience working in the hotel, coffee shop or pub trade — which is what Whitbread’s business actually is. Nor do the chairman, the chief executive or the finance director.” (The Times £)

One of the administrators to BHS has accused the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) of overriding other creditors’ interests and increasing the cost of dealing with the department store’s collapse. (The Times £)

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