The former chairman of Morrisons has built a £6 million stake in Sainsbury’s — and given Mike Coupe, its chief executive, his public backing, writes The Times (£)
Sir Ken Morrison owns 2.6 million shares in the rival. His son William owns a further 2.1 million shares, giving the pair a combined £11.9 million stake. “It is a well run company,” Sir Ken said. Filings suggest that he acquired his stake around April last year when Sainsbury’s shares were trading at around 300p. They closed at 255p on Friday. (The Times £)
Christmas shoppers have been snapping up festive bargains, as retailers slashed prices to cope with tough trading conditions. A forest of sale signs light up high streets as warm weather, Black Friday and move to online sales prompt steep high street discounts to attract shoppers. (The Guardian)
But retailers are hoping to see a last-minute dash to the high street this week after Christmas shoppers appear to have left gift buying later than ever. Unseasonably warm weather, security fears in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and a shift to online shopping have combined with hopes of catching a late bargain to make this year a nail-biter for many retailers. (The Guardian)
Millions of shoppers hit the high street over the weekend on so-called ‘Panic Saturday’. Stores up and down the country slashed prices by up to 50% to entice shoppers through the doors after a slow start to the Christmas shopping campaign. Analysts estimated that 12 million people descended on shopping centres yesterday with many more securing gifts online. (The Telegraph)
The Times (£) interviews an upbeat Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe as he dashes around South London visiting stores. Coupe seems confident over Christmas trading, remarking: ““Broadly, we are winning more customers than we are losing, which is a good thing. We are pleased with the progress, but it is a challenging market and there is no room for complacency.” (The Times £)
A small business group has got into the seasonal spirit of forgiveness by removing Diageo from its late payment “hall of shame” after noting marked improvement in the drinks giant’s treatment of suppliers. The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said that the owner of Guinness had taken steps to make sure it paid suppliers promptly, including promising to settle their invoices within 60 days. (The Times £)
Massive investment in new computer systems coupled with disappointing sales in Asia have made losses double at the Queen’s wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd. Simon Berry – chairman of the 310-year-old wine and spirits retailer with a world famous shop in St James’s, Central London – admitted the performance for the last financial year had ‘fallen well short of expectations’, but he insisted that the business remained strong. (The Daily Mail)
THE new boss of Britain’s biggest business lobby group has warned that George Osborne’s apprenticeship levy could cause “significant” job losses in sectors such as retailing. Carolyn Fairbairn, who took over as the first female director-general of the CBI in November, said the chancellor had not fully “understood” how Britain’s employers would be hit by the 0.5% levy, announced in his autumn statement last month. (The Sunday Times £)
The Telegraph interview’s John Lewis boss Andy Street where he talks about international expansion and that a transaction tax isn’t the solution for the much criticised business rates system. (The Telegraph)
The Times (£) has a story on the opening of Marks & Spencer’s first outlet in Beijing.
The Financial Times (£) had a special report on the whisky industry this weekend, writing that investment remains strong in the industry despite a slowing down of global demand – with production of single malts in particular increasing.