Sainsbury’s risks a backlash as its board weighs whether to approve a £247m dividend while the supermarket chain enjoys a sales surge and hundreds of millions of pounds in taxpayer relief. (The Times £)
Mike Coupe is preparing to deliver Sainsbury’s annual results on Thursday, his last presentation to investors as head of Britain’s second biggest supermarket chain. “The anticipated recession will bring more challenges for Sainsbury’s under its new boss.” (The Guardian)
Sainsbury’s may have to bail out its own bank, analysts have said. Experts at Barclays have speculated that the supermarket chain could be forced to ‘inject capital’ into Sainsbury’s Bank. (The Daily Mail).
The John Lewis Partnership is exploring whether it should bring in an outside investor to help to finance and launch a joint venture that would reduce its reliance on retailing, while also considering never reopening some of its less viable department stores after the national lockdown ends. (The Times £)
The pandemic has given Dame Sharon White a degree of freedom, as well, a licence to be bolder than she might have been. The business is working in a state of emergency, shaking off some of the staid, civil service-style bureaucracy that had led to a sluggish, reactionary culture. (The Times £)
Britain’s biggest department store chain John Lewis has drawn up a blueprint for reopening its shops that it will be ready to activate within weeks. (The Daily Mail)
Poundstretcher, the high street discounter, has become the latest retailer to kick off a review of its finances despite being one of the few non-food chains to continue trading during the UK lockdown. (Sky News)
Britain’s warehouses will be full within weeks, the industry has warned, as unsold goods clog up storage and tens of thousands of containers a week pile up at UK ports. (The Financial Times £)
Trade figures have issued new social distancing guidelines for shops to prepare for any easing of the lockdown. The British Retail Consortium and Usdaw’s advice includes providing hand sanitiser for customers. (The BBC)
Retailers face fresh threat posed by mountain of unsold stock as with many fashion lines now a write-off, traders need to find a clever way of turning leftovers into money. (The Telegraph)
Retailers have called for urgent measures to reopen the economy and boost consumer confidence, after sales fell at an unprecedented rate last month (The Telegraph).
Retail sales dropped in March at their fastest rate since records began 30 years ago, according to official statistics (The Times £).Official figures have charted a record surge in food sales growth, though the wider retail sector endured its worst month on record in March as the coronavirus crisis shuttered stores (Sky News).
There are growing fears that the lockdown may prompt huge changes in the way we shop, ushering in an era of fewer shops, more home deliveries, more local shopping and changes in the way we buy fashion. (The Guardian)
Tipping Morrisons shares, The Daily Mail writes: “When all this is over people will look back and remember which companies looked after their customers, staff and investors, and which rode roughshod on those crucial stakeholders. The more considerate firms should benefit from greater demand for their wares, a more committed workforce and, ultimately, stronger share price performance. Morrisons is one such business.” (The Daily Mail)
Grocers could continue to thrive after the coronavirus pandemic, writes The Mail. “The supermarkets should be well-positioned to benefit from the transformation forced on them by the pandemic. After a shaky start caused by stockpiling, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have mostly kept shelves stocked and ensured supplies for the vulnerable, enhancing their reputation with customers. “ (The Daily Mail)
Before lockdown, foodmakers were vying to produce ever more niche and premium products – but as restrictions were imposed last month, UK shoppers filled their baskets with processed foods and decades-old brands such as Mr Kipling baking sets, Ryvita crackers, Marvel powdered milk and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. (The Financial Times £)
Some of the millions of British workers furloughed during the coronavirus lockdown will be encouraged to take a second job picking fruit and vegetables, the government has said (Sky News). Furloughed workers may be encouraged to work as fruit and vegetable pickers to help farmers fill a labour shortage, the environment secretary has said (The BBC).
The Co-operative Group is bracing itself for a £200m hit as it grapples with “severe” costs after hiring thousands of temporary staff and installing protective equipment in its shops. (The Times £)
Burger King plans to reopen ten more sites a week for deliveries as part of a lockdown exit plan supported by its private equity backers. (The Daily Mail)
The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping the US meat market, with sales of plant-based substitutes surging while closures of slaughterhouses and processing plants threaten production of the real thing. (The Financial Times £)
Amazon has lost its appeal in a French court against unions who argued that the ecommerce giant was not doing enough to protect workers against Covid-19 at its six warehouses in the country. (The Financial Times £)
The FT has a story on how Danone managed the challenges of Covid-19 when it hit its home in France. Since the virus first hit Danone’s Chinese operation in January, the food manufacturer has adapted factories to social distancing, stockpiled masks, and expanded remote working. A central crisis committee has piloted the response, applying lessons from China to new countries as the virus spread. (The Financial Times £)