There’s plenty of coverage of the grocery sector in today’s papers, given the glut of news yesterday.
Asda’s fourth quarter numbers are given a heavy amount of column inches, with the media taking plenty of different angles. The Times focuses on CEO Andy Clarke’s criticism of rivals’ ‘short-term’ tactics after a deluge of supermarket special offers drove Asda’s sales down (The Times £). The Telegraph writes that it is Tesco’s fightback that has underpinned Asda’s sales slump (The Telegraph), while the FT focuses on Clarke’s warning that the sector has “more grocery turmoil ahead” (The Financial Times). The Guardian highlights the supermarket’s plans to invest £600m in new supermarkets and store revamps, with a focus on London and south of England (The Guardian).
Asda’s parent Walmart is also focussed on for increasing the minimum wage it pays its employees. The Guardian notes that big companies have been increasing their lowest wages to improve productivity, turnover and customer service – and help accelerate the US economic recovery (The Guardian). But the FT’s Lex column says Walmart’s problems go far beyond the pay issue after a lacklustre earnings release yesterday (The Financial Times £). Elsewhere in the paper the FT argues Walmart’s raise is “good for business” (The Financial Times £).
The departure of Majestic Wine CEO Steve Lewis was down to him “erring in in trying to match the supermarkets on price, instead of focusing on the group’s service and wine range” (The Times £). The Telegraph argues that Lewis is just the latest victim of the bruising supermarket price war (The Telegraph).
Rexam has accepted a £4.4bn bid from US rival Ball, but UK-listed can maker conceded that it was “taking nothing for granted” in securing the competition clearance for its mega-merger (The Times £). Meanwhile, The Mail’s Alex Brummer laments another British company being bought up, writing: ”The baloney spoken by chief executives as they so easily dispose of great British businesses sometimes has to be heard to be believed” (The Daily Mail)
The revolving door in the global beer industry spun again on Thursday when SABMiller, the London-based group behind Grolsch and Peroni, said its finance director Jamie Wilson had suddenly quit (The Financial Times £).