Britain’s supermarkets have admitted they cannot cope with the sharp increase in demand for online food ordering and said customers who are able to will have to keep shopping in stores. (The Financial Times £)
Supermarkets are being given access to a government database to help prioritise food deliveries for elderly and vulnerable shoppers who have been ordered to stay at home under the government’s coronavirus crackdown. (The Guardian)
Supermarkets and convenience stores are introducing measures to help keep staff and customers as safe as possible amid lockdown conditions across the UK. (Sky News)
The retail industry is facing its biggest sales fall for more than a decade, even though the coronavirus outbreak has led to more demand for groceries, the CBI has said (The Times £).
The UK is on course for a recession of a scale ‘not seen in modern history’ as the coronavirus outbreak has already dealt the economy an initial blow even greater than that seen during the last financial crisis. (The Daily Mail)
Fashion chain Primark is among the UK businesses refusing to pay quarterly rent due on Wednesday and has asked landlords for help weathering the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic (The Financial Times £). The owner of Primark has told landlords that it will not pay its quarterly rent in order to force them into discussions over terms (The Times £). Retail stalwart Primark has refused to pay its rent bill as it seeks more support from its landlords in a sign of the chaos sweeping the high street (The Telegraph). Primark has refused to pay £33m in rent to its landlords after the closure of its UK stores due to the coronavirus outbreak (The Guardian).
One of Britain’s biggest shopping centre-owners, Intu, will this week lay bare the scale of the crisis hammering retail landlords when it reveals that it received barely a third of the rent it was owed this week. (Sky News)
Thousands of shops that closed their doors this week due to the coronavirus lockdown will never reopen, experts have warned. More than 20,000 stores will be lost by the end of the year, according to figures from the Centre for Retail Research, a massive leap on the 4,547 that closed in 2019. (The Daily Mail)
Airport and railway caterer SSP Group has raised more than £200m of equity from institutions as part of a £300m funding package to ensure its survival. (The Times £)
The startling impact of the crisis on SSP was thrown into sharp relief yesterday, when the company reported a running underlying decline in revenues of as much as 85% and turned to its shareholders and lending banks for a financial lifeline to stop it running out of cash. (The Times £)
SSP shares have behaved as you would expect for a company almost entirely exposed to travel, falling as much as 80% from the start of the year. Hoarding may have bad social connotations these days, but for SSP doing so is a matter of survival. (The Financial Times £)
Breweries and pubs are lobbying the government for blanket permission to launch takeaway alcohol services, after off-licences were designated “essential businesses” permitted to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown (The Guardian). Off-licences are now included in what the government deems are businesses essential in keeping the country running as it tries the slow the spread of coronavirus (Sky News). Off-licences have been added to the government’s list of essential UK retailers allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic (The BBC).
The online shopping platforms eBay and Amazon Marketplace are failing to crackdown on a surge in profiteering by sellers due to the coronavirus, a consumer group has warned, after its investigation uncovered a wide range of products on sale at “extortionate” prices (The Guardian). Amazon Marketplace and eBay are failing to tackle unscrupulous sellers attempting to profit from the coronavirus epidemic, according to the consumer group Which? (Sky News).
The government should delay the planned increase in the national living wage to help to alleviate the pressure on businesses, according to a leading think tank. (The Times £)
The future price of orange juice has spiked by more than 20% this month as consumers look for healthy products during the coronavirus pandemic. (The BBC)
In the UK pasta sales spiked 168% in the week to March 14 compared with the year before. Following the journey of pasta from farm to fork illustrates all the processes that will need to be kept running during the coronavirus outbreak. Like many foodstuffs, pasta relies on a highly complex international supply chain — often passing through several countries on the way to consumers’ plates. (The Financial Times £)