Fever-Tree CORE_DISPLAY_0003 v2

The drinks maker Fever-Tree and the owner of the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s restaurant chains have warned of dramatic cost increases as the price of commodities and gas and electricity soars and the war in Ukraine adds pressure to their businesses (The Guardian).

Fever-Tree said commodity prices had jumped ‘dramatically’ since the war started and it has been forced to cut its annual earnings forecast as a result (The Mail).

Companies across the UK’s leisure, retail and food sectors have warned that the war in Ukraine will worsen already surging inflation as energy and food costs continue to rise, tightening the squeeze on their businesses (The Financial Times £).

Ex-Sainsbury’s boss Justin King says discount supermarkets haven’t taken over because shoppers don’t just choose a grocer based on price (The Mail). Speaking to the Full & Frank podcast, hosted by former Sky News business editor Michael Wilson and veteran financial commentator David Buik, King said previous forecasts about the discount supermarket sector’s growth had been incorrect.

The number of independent retail businesses on the UK’s high streets increased for the first time in five years in 2021, even though chain stores continued to shrink their presence, according to new data (The Financial Times £).

The number of empty shops and restaurants in Britain has fallen for the first time since 2018, prompting hopes that a post-pandemic recovery may be under way (The Times £).

Nearly 90% of former Debenhams stores remain empty almost a year after the department store closed its doors for the last time, in a sign of the challenge to reinvent high streets across the country (The Guardian).

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has warned the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, that millions more people will be plunged into fuel poverty unless the government uses next week’s spring statement to ease the UK’s cost of living crisis (The Guardian).

The search is on for a new chief executive at Starbucks after Kevin Johnson unexpectedly announced that he would step down next month (The Times £).

Howard Schultz, who transformed an 11-store Seattle chain into a global coffee empire, is returning to run Starbucks on an interim basis after chief executive Kevin Johnson announced that he would retire next month (The Financial Times £).

The shakeup in leadership, announced on Wednesday, comes as Starbucks workers across the country are pushing to form unions (The Guardian).

‘Inflation takes a bite out of ‘one pound meals’ phenomenon.’ The Financial Times (£) interviews Miguel Barclay, Instagram’s £1 chef, on having to think creatively as food prices rise.

The US Federal Reserve has launched an aggressive campaign to curb rampant inflation, raising interest rates for the first time since December 2018 and indicating that more will follow (The Times £).