“M&S ambitions to regain clothing crown dented by global rivals”, writes the Financial Times (£). M&S is still Britain’s biggest seller of apparel, it writes. But today it is an enfeebled giant, outclassed by brands such as H&M and Primark that have remade the rag trade as a global business in which their buying power far surpasses that of national chains. Analysts say CEO Steve Rowe’s new strategy is sensible. But most — along with Rowe himself — insist it is too early to conclude that the M&S clothing business has finally broken out of a cycle of underperformance that has outlasted four chief executives. (The Financial Times £)
Finsbury Food has warned further price rises are inevitable as it battles to limit the impact of spiralling costs. Finsbury has looked at self-help measures, such as reducing promotional activity and tweaking recipes, in an effort to lessen the need for price rises. However, it warned it had little choice but to start raising charges. (The Times £)
French retailer Carrefour has posted its fifth consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth as revenues rose in its key European and Brazilian markets, offsetting the continuing struggles at its lossmaking Asian business. (The Financial Times £)
The FT’s Lex column looks at recently merged retailer Ahold Delhaize and concludes: “With costs coming down and plenty of free cash flow — an estimated €1.7bn this coming year — Ahold’s merger with Delhaize should pay off in the coming 18 months. The share’s attractive valuation has given bargain hunters an opportunity.” (The Financial Times £)
“Poor sales put Pets at Home in doghouse”, writes The Times (£), adding: “It would appear that Britons did not pamper their pooches this Christmas as much as they have in previous years.” The Telegraph quotes analysts speculating that Pets at Home lower Christmas like-for-like sales suggest it is the latest retailer to suffer from a change in shopping habits as consumers flock to online retailers.
Shares in Rémy Cointreau jumped as much as 8% at the start of trading on Thursday after the French spirits maker reported a 9% increase in third-quarter sales amid a recovery of sales in China. (The Financial Times £)
The BBC is at the World Economic Forum in Davos and talking food sustainability. It interviews Patrick Brown, former paediatrician turned professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, who is attempting to create a burger - with the same nutritional value, taste and texture of ground beef - just without using an animal. Also it notes that one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, around 1.3bn tonnes, which if used could help address the issue of global hunger. (The BBC)