fuel pumps - web

Supermarkets are ‘heartlessly overcharging’ as fuel hits festive peak (The Times £). Drivers are paying the highest petrol and diesel prices of any Christmas, even though wholesale prices are the same as last year and the government has cut fuel duty. Motoring groups have described the findings as “verging on the scandalous”.

Pret A Manger is axing almost all of its vegetarian-only stores as the novelty of meat-free branches wears off (The Telegraph). The sandwich chain is to shut or rebrand 75% of its Veggie Pret stores six years after they first launched.

UK retail chain Wilko has appointed a new chief executive with extensive restructuring experience as talks continue over a refinancing to secure its future (The Financial Times £). The family-owned group said Mark Jackson would join the business as chief executive designate.

Sir Tom Hunter, the billionaire investor and philanthropist, has reaffirmed his commitment to THG, insisting that Matt Moulding’s struggling beauty-to-nutrition retailer has been “a real success story” (The Times £).

The Guardian follows up the Grocer’s story that Lidl is being sued for £2.6m by a fruit and vegetable supplier that claims it was wrongly cut out of deals by the discount chain in a series of moves it alleges “destroyed our business”. The Grocer revealed earlier this week that the discounter is being sued by its former fresh food supplier Proctor & Associates Ltd, which claims it has had to stop trading after Lidl delisted a raft of its products without notice and went on to poach its own suppliers. Read the story here.

The Times (£) looks at rising stars with three fast-growing food and drink businesses all based outside London, including gut health brand Bio & Me.

The Mail features a story on Sainsbury’s oldest worker, 92-year-old Eddie Swan, who has worked at the store in Ashford, Kent, since it opened 27 years ago.

An agreed joint venture between poultry feed giants ForFarmers UK and Boparan’s 2Agriculture is set for an in-depth probe by the Competition Markets Authority (The Mail).

A deep dive in The Financial Times (£) asks ‘how expensive is Christmas this year?’. “Inflation, extreme weather and the war in Ukraine have driven up the price of festive staples.”

Retailers benefited from an unexpected rebound in sales in the run-up to Christmas but are braced for it to be the last good news for a while, with sales expected to fall back in the new year, a survey shows (The Times £).

A recession by the end of the year is even more likely after statisticians said the economy shrank by more than originally thought in the third quarter (The Times £).