Marks & Spencer is set to close 110 more stores in yet another blow to the High Street after announcing its annual profits had plunged by 10% (The Daily Mail). Marks & Spencer is stepping up its retreat from the high street by closing a further 20 of its full-line stores, which sell clothing and food under one roof (The Guardian). Marks & Spencer is planning to open 25 new larger food shops as it accelerates the overhaul of its dated store estate as shoppers shift online (The Telegraph). Marks & Spencer is to close more shops as part of an attempt to revive its prospects (The Times £). Marks & Spencer bosses have pledged to rescue the ‘wobbly’ business as profits fell for the third consecutive year (The Daily Mail). Marks & Spencer has suffered a heavy blow to profits from the costs of its restructuring programme, just as it hits shareholders with a steeply discounted rights issue to fund half of Ocado’s food retail business (The Financial Times £). The retailer’s shares plunged as the dividend is slashed and it asks investors to support a discounted capital raising (Sky News).
M&S has to price the new shares at a sizeable discount to ensure there is still some upside for investors after predictable falls in its market price, writes The FT’s Lex column. “M&S has to offer a discount to reflect the time value of the new money — as there is unlikely to be a return on it in the short term… For now, though, this is not just jam. This is M&S jam. Jam tomorrow. For which you must pay today.” (The Financial Times £)
Marks & Spencer has played down the impact of falling out of the FTSE 100 for the first time in its history after another sharp fall in its share price left it teetering on the brink of tumbling out of the index of Britain’s biggest listed companies. (The Times £)
Pret A Manger, the UK food-to-go chain, has agreed to buy smaller rival Eat with plans to transform the outlets into “Veggie Prets” as it takes advantage of growing consumer demand for vegan and vegetarian options (The Financial Times £). Pret A Manger has agreed to buy rival sandwich and coffee chain Eat as it prepares to ramp up its assault on the vegetarian and vegan food-to-go market (The Telegraph). Pret a Manger has bought rival food and drink chain EAT to help accelerate the growth of its vegetarian brand (The Daily Mail). Pret a Manger is to rapidly expand its vegetarian chain after buying sandwich business Eat for an undisclosed sum (The Guardian). Pret says its plans for Eat are a response to a growing demand for more vegetarian and vegan options on the high street (Sky News).
A German turnaround specialist, Aurelius Group, was in advanced talks to acquire Jamie Oliver’s restaurant business until the day before administrators were called (The Times £). Banks and one of Britain’s biggest food suppliers are poised to pursue Jamie Oliver over debts after the chef’s empire of restaurants collapsed (The Telegraph).
Pets at Home beat City expectations despite reporting lower profits for the year to March as it continued on a restructuring plan (The Telegraph). Pets At Home, the UK’s leading pet-and-vet retailer, said its recent restructuring has taken hold to help boost full-year earnings “ahead of expectations” as its retail business returned to growth faster than anticipated (The Financial Times £). Pets at Home set tails wagging as performance last year was ahead of expectations (The Daily Mail).
The pound has marked its longest losing run against the euro since the continental currency began trading in 1999 (The Daily Mail). The pound fell to its lowest level since January as the prime minister’s hopes of being able to push her Brexit withdrawal bill through parliament all but disappeared (The Times £).
The levy on sugary soft drinks has not put Britvic off its game. The company, which makes Pepsi in Britain and owns Robinsons, said that it was “accelerating the consumer trend towards our heartland of low and no-sugar brands”. (The Times £)
Tesco knows a thing or two about pricing when it comes to selling baked beans or Marmite… but the mortgage market is rather different, writes The Mail’s Alex Brummer. “With a tiny number of residential loans and a total book of £3.7billion Tesco is finding it difficult to compete, especially as it needs to pay depositors more to fund its lending. So it is pulling out.” (The Daily Mail)
Tyson Foods is in talks over a multibillion-dollar investment in Kazakhstan beef production as a back door into China, allowing the US meat company to dodge high tariffs on American agricultural goods. (The Financial Times £)
Plant-based vegan “meat” is “not merely a fad” and the market will grow more than tenfold to $140 billion within a decade, according to analysts at Barclays. (The Times £)
The share price of Casino’s parent company closed at an all-time low on Wednesday, on the back of heightened concerns about the sustainability of the chain of heavily indebted companies that control the French retailer. (The Financial Times £)