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High streets are in the grip of a “retail recession”, economists have warned, after shop sales slumped unexpectedly rapidly in September (Telegraph). British consumers cut back on spending last month, according to official figures, amid growing fears the retail industry has plunged into a recession before the key festive shopping season (The Guardian).

Shoppers cut back their spending on clothes and other non-essential items last month as cost of living pressures and high energy prices began to bite (The Times £). Retail sales fell more than expected in September as shoppers held back buying autumn clothing amid unseasonably warm weather, official figures show (BBC).

Britons are expected to buy fewer and cheaper items this Christmas – especially online – as the cost of living crisis forces many to rein in the celebrations. (The Guardian)

A closely-watched barometer of consumer confidence is warning of “concern” for retailers ahead of Christmas, as official figures for September show a steep fall in sales. (Sky News)

Pret A Manger has handed the majority of its American operation to a franchiser, creating a joint venture that will take operational control of 50 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. (The Times £)

Dame Sharon White told workers at John Lewis and Waitrose of a “difficult week” following her decision to step down as she acknowledged there was no ideal timing for her departure and that she intended to leave a legacy of a financially secure business. (Financial Times £)

John Lewis has been accused of building “executive housing” after admitting that as little as 10% of flats at one of its flagship developments could be affordable. (Telegraph)

Sweet-toothed shoppers have spent more than a quarter of a billion pounds on chocolate in the past year, despite a government crackdown on junk food advertising. (The Times £)

Hundreds of crates of cava have been smashed and thousands of gallons of rose dumped by French wine growers in protest at cheap imports from Spain. (Sky News)

Andria Vidler, new chief executive of Allwyn UK, says the group is “ready to restore the magic that’s missing from National Lottery”. (The Times £)

Corporate concentration is linked to price gouging and commodities volatility, according to a new UN report. Despite a softening in demand, many commodity prices have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Fuel and agricultural commodities in particular are still elevated, leading to food insecurity for millions. (Financial Times £)

The billionaire founder of Home Bargains has become the latest high-profile businessman to back Labour ahead of the next election. (Telegraph)

Is the CBD fad over? Brands reel after cannabidiol clampdown. As the Food Standards Agency recommends smaller helpings of CBD in products, how will ‘wellness’ firms be affected? (The Times £)

Shrinkflation and its sister skimpflation have hit many of the items in shopping baskets as rampant inflation in the cost of ingredients, energy and staff has forced manufacturers to take steps to keep prices down. (The Guardian)

Analysts warn that if India maintains its current restrictions, and other producers follow, the world is on track for a repeat of the 2008 rice crisis, when a contagion of protectionist policies contributed to rice prices tripling in six months, driving inflation across the globe and sparking civil unrest in north Africa, south Asia and the Caribbean. (Financial Times £)

The EU has proposed a 30% per capita reduction in food wasted in homes and restaurants by the end of 2030. Such targets will help attract investor interest to the emerging food waste technology sector, although there will be limits to how much science can conquer human nature. (Financial Times £)