Pets at Home  boxout - main pic

Rising energy bills from keeping its in-store inventory of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and tropical fish warm overnight are eating away at profits at Pets at Home (The Times £).

The Tempus shares column in The Times (£) says the pet chain is in the doghouse as sales slow, with new boss Lyssa McGowan’s first task to convince the market that  profit growth will speed up again next year. The column gives its shares a ‘buy’ rating. “A weaker valuation looks too harsh in light of the medium-term growth opportunities.”

Animal lovers are brushing off the rising cost of living to snap up premium food and treats for their pets (The Mail). Pets at Home said owners are increasingly treating cats and dogs ‘like members of the family’, spending on Christmas presents and turning to more expensive treats and food.

Lyssa McGowan, the new boss of Pets at Home, has told The Mail that the business has a ‘very strong balance sheet’ and is ‘uniquely placed’ to withstand the cost-of-living crisis and turbulence within the economy.

The weather may have now turned cold, but Britvic reported a jump in annual revenue and profit on the back of the hot summer and the easing of Covid curbs (The Times £). The soft drinks group behind Robinsons and J2O raised revenues by 15.5% to £1.62bn in the year to September 30.

Close to a third of single parents have resorted to skipping meals to make ends meet because of rising food costs, according to research revealing the household types worst hit by the cost of living crisis (The Guardian).

UK economic activity has shrunk for a fourth consecutive month as new orders fell at the fastest pace in almost two years, pointing to a deepening recession that is forecast to last more than a year (The Financial Times £).

Ocado shoppers are up in arms after an upmarket sourdough white loaf overhauled its recipe to include wholemeal flour, prompting the bakery behind it to deny cost cutting prompted by the war in Ukraine (The Telegraph). Customers have bombarded the online supermarket with one-star reviews for Bertinet Bakery White Sourdough following the radical changes last month, variously branding the new loaf as “ruined”, “disgusting” and “resembling cardboard”.

Waitrose has changed a part of its Christmas advert that showed two farmers comparing sun tans after it was criticised by skin cancer patients (BBC News).

Tampax is facing a potential boycott after it was accused of “sexualising women” in a controversial tweet that ended up going viral (Sky News).

A feature in The Times (£) takes a look at how This muscled in on the alternative meat space.

A dyslexic worker who spent more than 20 years at Marks and Spencer has been awarded £50,000 after she was sacked for making mistakes in emails (The Times £).

Rishi Sunak is under pressure from a broad alliance of British business, legal, worker and environmental groups to drop controversial plans to automatically strip swaths of EU-derived law from the British statute book by the end of next year (The Financial Times £).

A Big Read in The Financial Times (£) looks at how retailers are reshaping the advertising industry.