J Sainsbury and Asda could have to dispose of stores in up to 300 locations across Britain if the two grocers are to succeed in convincing regulators to approve their proposed merger. In a sign of the potential regulatory challenge facing the companies, an analysis by The Times (£) and industry bodies using modelling techniques typically employed by the Competition and Markets Authority shows that there are at least 300 catchment areas where the merger could run into local competition concerns.
“I find it very hard as an informed layman to understand why the Competition and Markets Authority would willingly allow Sainsbury’s and Asda to merge and create another behemoth like Tesco. I don’t think the merger should go through,” said one senior supermarket industry executive in the first of a series for The Times (£) on the mega-merger.
PepsiCo has agreed to buy SodaStream, the Israeli maker of home fizzy drink dispensers, for $3.2bn, just weeks after the US consumer group announced that its chief executive Indra Nooyi would step down later this year (Financial Times (£)). The acquisition of the health-conscious soda maker is a clear indication that Pepsi’s incoming chief executive, Ramon Laguarta, plans to continue developing the company in a similar direction as his predecessor.
Amazon is hoping to capitalise on the turmoil on the high street as it circles Homebase stores in a bid to expand its delivery empire (The Telegraph). The internet retailer has emerged as an aggressive bidder for a tranche of stores Homebase is looking to offload through a sweeping restructure of its business, sources have said (The Times (£)).
Revenues at Thorntons slumped more than a quarter last year to £140m as new owner Ferrero sought to overhaul the chocolatier’s struggling stores and boost sales to supermarkets (The Telegraph).
Hollywood superstar Will Smith and his son, Jaden, are to launch a sustainably packaged water brand in Britain (The Sunday Times £). Just Water was co-founded by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor and rapper and his son three years ago after Jaden became fed up with having to dodge plastic bottles while surfing.
Vineyards in Bordeaux are selling for millions of euros per acre as investors seek to capitalise on the global taste for claret (The Times £). Figures released by the French government last week showed businesses and wealthy individuals paying more than ever before for vineyards in the most renowned areas of Bordeaux’s wine-growing region.
Soaring summer temperatures have heaped pressure on restaurant chains after the frazzled public shunned eating out (The Telegraph). Like-for-like restaurant sales fell 4.8pc in July, according research released on Monday.
House of Fraser collapsed with nearly £1 billion of debts and has left thousands of workers fearing for their jobs as the latest retail failure takes its toll on the high street (The Times £).
‘How did covering some chicken meat in seasoned flour and milk and then deep frying it become so popular?’ asks Harry Wallop in the Guardian as he looks in to the ‘unstoppable rise’ of KFC.
CEC International Holdings, the owner of a successful Hong Kong retail chain focused on snacks and drinks imported from across Asia, saw its share price more than double in value on Monday following the death of its founder and chief executive (Financial Times £).
Australian supermarket chain Coles says it has now reopened all its supermarkets across the country, after dozens of stores were shuttered for several hours on Sunday morning due to a technical issue with the cash registers (The Guardian).
Stationery chain Office Outlet has stepped up its bid for survival with plans to shut a handful of its worst performing stores (The Telegraph).
The chairman of Just Eat, the food delivery company, is being lined up to play a leading role in the £45bn break-up of Prudential into two separately listed FTSE-100 finance giants (Sky News).