Simon Roberts headshot IGD

Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts

The boss of Sainsbury’s said shoppers were starting to splurge on certain items after two years of shopping for bargains, as Britain’s second-biggest supermarket forecast rising profits this year (Financial Times £).

Sainsbury’s food business is “firing on all cylinders”, its boss has said as the UK’s second-largest grocer forecast full-year profits of more than £1bn (The Times £).

Sainsbury’s expects to deliver ‘strong’ profit growth this year, driven by bumper food sales and a sharp focus on prices in a bid to help win customers from rivals (Mail).

In another article in the Mail the Sainsbury’s boss says it is ‘taking business from our competitors’ after a 3.4% rise in annual sales to £36bn.

Shoppers are beginning to spend more freely but it will take a cut in interest rates before sales of more expensive items such as TVs and sofas start to take off again, the boss of Sainsbury’s has said (The Guardian).

The boss of Sainsbury’s has insisted customers like self-checkout tills, even as other supermarkets ditch them because of a backlash (Telegraph £).

Food giant Nestlé has reported slower than expected growth, taking a hit from falling frozen pizza sales in North America in particular, and supply problems in its vitamins business (Financial Times £).

Unilever shares rose on Thursday after the consumer giant forecast-beating first quarter sales after easing its pace of price hikes (The Mail).

Ben & Jerry’s social justice activism is “a strength, not a weakness”, Unilever has insisted, amid questions over whether the brand’s political campaigning could deter potential buyers (The Telegraph £).

The boss of Unilever has rejected claims that he has “watered down” the Magnum and Marmite maker’s sustainability targets after he recently rowed back on a series of environmental and social pledges (The Times £).

Unilever is talking to the government about listing its ice-cream business in London rather than in Amsterdam or New York (Mail).

English football’s top flight is toasting a £40m sponsorship deal with Guinness after the Diageo-owned brand saw off competition from Heineken, according to Sky News.

WH Smith shares are ‘more for patient money than fast bucks right now’, Peel Hunt analysts said on Thursday after the retailer took another hit from a disappointing first half performance (Mail).

A strong performance from its British travel business pushed up half-year sales at WH Smith but failed to impress investors, who were disappointed by what one analyst called a lack of “eye-catching” current trading (The Times £).

MPs have cast doubt over the UK government’s readiness for post-Brexit border control checks, which are due to come in next week, arguing that a scaling back of its plans appeared to represent a sixth delay to their long-awaited introduction (The Guardian).

The EU’s nature restoration law will only work if it is enacted in partnership with farmers, a group of leading scientists has said, after months of protests have pushed the proposals to the brink of collapse (The Guardian).

A UK deposit return scheme for recycling drinks bottles has been delayed to 2027, meaning it will not be in place until almost a decade after it was proposed (The Guardian).

The Grocer exclusively revealed in February that the DRS rollout was to be delayed, after a report from the industry to Defra warned it would be impossible to get a scheme up and running before the middle of 2028. Read the latest story here.

Shoplifting offences logged by the police have hit their highest level since comparable records began 21 years ago (The Times £).

A total of 430,104 shoplifting offences were logged by police last year, up more than a third (37 per cent) on the 315,040 recorded in the previous 12 months to December 2022 (Telegraph £).

England has the highest rates of alcohol consumption among school children, according to a study of more than 40 countries by the World Health Organization (Financial Times £).

One in three 11-year-olds and half of 13-year-olds in England have had alcohol — the highest rate of childhood drinking out of 44 countries examined by the World Health Organisation, in a report based on data from 280,000 children (The Times £).

Falling inflation and tax cuts have helped to revive consumer confidence this month, but a delay to reductions in interest rates could keep households cautious in the months ahead, a closely watched survey suggests (The Times £).