A law firm is canvassing Patisserie Valerie investors in the hope of launching legal action following the discovery of a near-£40m hole in the cafe chain’s books (The Times £).
Two directors of troubled café chain Patisserie Valerie, including its suspended finance director Chris Marsh, made multimillion-pound profits from share options pegged to profit figures that may now have to be revised (The Financial Times £). After Patisserie Valerie bosses sell £13m shares months before scandal, why didn’t anyone in charge see their cakes were sinking, asks The Mail on Sunday. One investor said, if the accounts were ‘bogus or misleading,’ directors may need to ‘consider repaying the proceeds [of share sales] back into the company’. (The Mail on Sunday).
Ocado is hunting for two new distribution centres to capitalise on the surge in demand for online deliveries. The internet grocer is understood to be looking for one warehouse between London and Birmingham, and another in the north of England. (The Times £)
“Tesco can’t see online delivering”, writes The Times, noting it has built up a 50% share of the £11.4bn market over almost a quarter of a century, yet during his four years in charge, CEO Dave Lewis has shown little appetite to burnish Tesco’s reputation as an ecommerce pioneer. His reluctance is because of the sector’s horrendous track record: leading supermarkets have delivered hundreds of millions of orders over the years — yet still make next to nothing from them. (The Times £)
A disappointing set of interim results from supermarket chain Tesco and a subsequent loss of momentum in the share price has presented some of the company’s bosses with a buying opportunity. Between October 3 and 5, chief executive David Lewis, chairman John Allan and other directors spent more than £290,000 in aggregate topping up their respective holdings. (The Financial Times £)
Phillip Hammond is exploring a £300m tax-cut rescue operation to help shops in Britain’s most deprived town centres. The Chancellor is “actively considering” the move amid rising pressure from domestic firms. It could be introduced from April, and would instantly reduce bills for the next two years. (The Telegraph)
A flurry of profit warnings from embattled retailers has made it the worst period for the high street since the financial crisis. Retailers issued eight profit warnings in the past three months, according to EY, the joint highest third-quarter figure since the credit crunch. (The Telegraph)
The founder of discount retailer Home Bargains paid himself more than £1m last year as the rapidly expanding company revealed another surge in profits. (The Telegraph)
One of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris, has been accused of “staggering hypocrisy” over its new ad campaign that urges smokers to quit. The Marlboro maker said the move was “an important next step” in its aim to “ultimately stop selling cigarettes”. (The BBC)
Procter & Gamble on Friday unveiled a new round of price rises on products from toothpaste to deodorant, warning of relentless input cost pressure even as the US consumer products bellwether produced its biggest sales increase in five years. (The Financial Times £)
The plastics recycling industry faces an investigation amid reports firms are illegally profiting from the market and in some cases polluting rivers. The Environment Agency, the regulator, confirmed it had set up an investigative team and was pursuing “several lines of enquiry”. (The BBC)