“Dutch in tax war to lure Unilever away from UK”, writes the Daily Mail. The Dutch government has been accused of waging ‘war’ on the UK and using Brexit to lure Marmite-maker Unilever away from London. Unilever, which also owns Dove, Persil and Magnum ice creams, is understood to be close to a decision that could see it quit the City. It currently reports to both the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges but is considering whether to drop one to simplify company operations. (The Daily Mail)
UK consumers could be hit by a new bout of food price inflation next year after the return of the La Niña global weather phenomenon, which may hit production of key commodities including coffee and cocoa. (The Guardian)
More than a month after its shares were suspended, a Blackburn-based toilet paper maker returned to the market yesterday and embarked on an attempt to raise £18 million in fresh funding. Shares in Accrol dropped by more than 60% after trading resumed (The Times £). Loo roll maker Accrol failed to convince shareholders it had cleaned up the mess it made with its profits. The company, which suspended trading in September after admitting earnings would be significantly below its forecasts, saw its shares plummet upon its re-entry to AIM yesterday (The Daily Mail)
North America has not always proved the easiest of hunting grounds for British restaurant chains, as the likes of Belgo and Pizza Express can testify, but the appetite for breaking into one of the world’s biggest markets remains. Yo! Sushi announced the C$100mn acquisition of the Toronto-based Bento Sushi chain yesterday (The Times £). YO! Sushi’s partnership with Bento, North America’s second-largest sushi brand, will make it one of the biggest sushi firms outside of Japan, with the two groups having racked up sales of around £175million over the last 12 months (The Daily Mail).
The UK high street is causing its own downfall by excluding elderly shoppers, a study has found. According to new research by the Centre for Future Studies a rise in e-commerce, hi-tech payment methods, and shops’ reluctance to invest in seating are driving older customers away from shops. (The Telegraph)
Many items discounted over the Black Friday weekend can be bought for the same price or even cheaper at other times of the year, an investigation by consumer group Which? has found. (The Guardian)
Alibaba has taken a further step into new retail, its bid to fuse ecommerce and physical stores, splashing out $2.9bn for a stake in one of China’s biggest supermarket chains. The HK$22.4bn (US$2.9bn) deal, which initially sees Alibaba acquire an aggregate direct and indirect 36.16 per cent slice of Sun Art Retail Group, triggers a mandatory takeover offer under Hong Kong rules. (The Financial Times £)
The FT’s Lex column writes: “Some find Alibaba’s ambition creepy. But investors have remained sanguine about the grocery drive… As long as overall growth continues its frantic pace, uses for cash must be found and Alibaba’s “new retail strategy” can be tolerated. But that will not last for ever. One day, investors will start to ask whether too much physical retailing hampers Alibaba‘s ecommerce appeal.” (The Financial Times £)