The chairman of Marks & Spencer has called plans to ease post-Brexit trade “baffling” and “overbearing”, as he became the latest business leader to attack the government over its economic policy (The Telegraph). In a broadside on proposals for solving the Northern Irish Protocol stand-off, Archie Norman said the approach could force prices higher and give EU companies an advantage over British competitors.

Marks & Spencer has urged the UK government not to consider separate labelling for goods sold in Northern Ireland during talks with the EU about improving post-Brexit trade arrangements, arguing that it would be too costly for retailers and customers (The Guardian).

Whiskas has slashed the size of its catfood pouches but kept the price the same in the latest example of so-called “shrinkflation” (The Telegraph).

The Guardian follows up The Grocer’s story from earlier this week on the latest accounts of Riverford Organic. The organic vegetable box company doubled its dividend to its founder, Guy Singh-Watson, to £850,000 last year and tripled its workers’ bonus pool to £2.4m despite a dive in profits. Read The Grocer’s story.

Factory gate prices at the end of last year fell by their biggest margin since the first lockdown in the latest sign that inflation is slowing (The Times £). Output prices for producers fell by 0.8% between November and December, according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures.

Confidence among small business owners fell again in the final months of 2022, sliding to levels not seen since Britain went into lockdown for the second time two years ago (The Times £).

Businesses are at their most pessimistic about the economy since the depths of the Great Recession amid a “nightmare” of tax rises, soaring prices and lacklustre growth prospects, a survey shows (The Telegraph).

JD Wetherspoon “cautiously optimistic” on 2023 trade as boss Tim Martin blasts disparity in tax treatment of pubs and supermarkets (The Mail).

JD Wetherspoon has reported sales still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels as boss Tim Martin bemoaned the fact that people often now drink in their homes rather than in pubs (The Times £).

Dozens of JD Wetherspoon pubs put up for sale in recent months are yet to find a buyer as nervousness over the impact of the cost of living crisis on the hospitality sector and turmoil in the commercial property market has put off potential suitors (The Financial Times £).