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British retail sales have fallen to their lowest level since February 2021 as consumers curb their spending in the face of punishing inflation, according to data that sent gilt yields lower (The Financial Times £). Retail sales have suffered an unexpected slump at the start of the “golden quarter”, official figures show, as high interest rates and storms put people off shopping (The Telegraph £). Retailers in Great Britain suffered a slump in sales in October as the impact of high borrowing costs and rising prices signalled a high street recession in the run-up to Christmas (The Guardian). Shoppers bought less fuel and food in October as they were hit by rising living costs and poor weather, according to official figures (The BBC).

Retail sales took an unexpected fall last month, according to official figures suggesting a slump to COVID lockdown levels with only online operators seeing growth. (Sky News)

Gilt yields fell to six-month lows yesterday as investors ramped up bets on an early interest rate cut following a sharp decline in retail sales. (The Daily Mail)

Barclays has been exploring a potential acquisition of Tesco’s banking operations after the retailer asked prospective bidders to submit non-binding offers. (The Times £)

While the takeover followed Hotel Chocolat’s troubled efforts to expand overseas, and two profit warnings in fast succession, it also added to a growing body of evidence that smaller companies listed on the London market are being seriously undervalued by investors. (The Times £)

Chocolate has unique mood-enhancing qualities. Hence consumers have traditionally tolerated price inflation to get their fix. This year is different. Chocolate lovers are tightening their belts rather than swallowing higher costs. (The Financial Times £)

Claims from the tobacco industry that a proposed ban on cigarette sales will fuel the black market have been dismissed by the government and health campaigners. (The Times £)

Chancellor must act to rescue leisure industry from brink of oblivion, urges boss of UKHospitality. As the voice of the hospitality industry, which employs 3.5 million people and pays £54 billion a year in tax, she is demanding urgent action on business rates. (The Daily Mail)

Jeremy Hunt will this week pledge to review the rules governing payment authentication in what he will describe as a post-Brexit crackdown on fraud. This would include a review of contactless payments, which are currently capped at £100, although it was unclear whether a substantial increase in that was under active consideration. (Sky News)

One of Britain’s biggest pubs groups has turned to the world of theme parks and family attractions for its next chief executive. (The Times £)

The boss of Fortnum & Mason this weekend gave a stark warning to the Government to scrap the tourist tax in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement before it is ‘too late’ to prevent losing sales revenues to the French. (The Daily Mail)

How consumers fell out of love with The Body Shop – The Body Shop, which has about 2,500 shops in more than 70 countries, has struggled with a slump in sales amid increased competition and surging inflation. (The Financial Times £)

For Natura, the hastily conducted auction amounted to little more than a capitulation. The question now is, will the new owner lavish more attention on a neglected, yet fondly remembered brand? Or is one of the trailblazers of what was to become the ESG movement fated to be another of those dinosaurs? (The Times £)

Diageo’s new boss left shaken and stirred by sales gaffe. What happened is relatively simple: Diageo failed to realise that sales in the region had plunged as consumers grappled with rising interest rates, soaring inflation and political turmoil. Why its bosses didn’t notice is more complex. (The Times £)

The American owner of Boots is set to pay £1bn to offload responsibility for the pharmacy chain’s huge pension scheme as it prepares to relaunch the sale process it abandoned last year. (The Times £)

Almost everyone likes cake and almost everyone likes a reason to celebrate, so Cake Box, offering freshly-baked, egg-free celebratory cakes, should be on to a winner. (The Daily Mail)

Marks & Spencer has created a turkey roast for four with all the trimmings in gravy that can be cooked in just one hour. (The Daily Mail)

Inside the Boots nerve centre that’s waging a £1bn war against shoplifters. Nearly all of Boots’ 2,100 stores have CCTV, with 1,200 of the biggest and busiest connected to the round-the-clock monitoring centre. Each of these stores are also fitted with panic buttons that link directly to the nerve centre. (The Daily Mail)