A former managing director of John Lewis, who was elected as mayor of the West Midlands, said it would be a “tragedy” if the retailer abandoned its partnership model (The Times £). It would be a tragedy if John Lewis were to change is staff-ownership model, a former boss of the retailer has said (The Guardian). A former John Lewis boss has said it would be a “tragedy” if the retailer changed its ownership model, which has been in staff hands for 70 years (BBC, Telegraph £). Andy Street said the department store owner had ‘let go’ of its soul (Daily Mail).

Mary Portas, one of Britain’s leading retail consultants, has said the John Lewis group faces a battle to regain its soul, amid its potential move to welcome outside ownership (The Guardian). Retail consultant Mary Portas has written an open letter to John Lewis warning that the department store had “let go” of its soul (BBC). John Lewis has “let go of its soul” under boss Sharon White, the retail consultant and former Downing Street adviser Mary Portas has said (Telegraph £).

The boss of embattled John Lewis has made it clear she is open to new investment as the partnership faces an existential crisis in a struggle for cash. (Daily Mail)

The Sunday Times looks at “the week that shook John Lewis”. Sharon White’s insistence that no decision had been taken led Friday’s edition of The Gazette, the partnership’s in-house magazine. The former civil servant and Ofcom regulator spent the week trying to contain the fallout, recording a vlog for John Lewis and Waitrose’s 74,000 partners. (The Times £)

Alex Brummer in The Mail writes: “Middle England is in grave anxiety about the prospects for partnership-owned John Lewis, one of the nation’s favourite retailers. The worry is well placed. When emblematic British companies look to outsiders for salvation, finance and inspiration, the outcomes are rarely what stakeholders wish for.” (Daily Mail)

Retail experts give their views on John Lewis in The Guardian as Richer Sounds founder, former Selfridges chief, Riverford co-owner and others on whether the chain has the right strategy. (The Guardian)

The billionaire owners of Asda are racing to complete a blockbuster merger of the supermarket chain and their UK petrol stations as part of efforts to cut their forecourts empire’s debt burden. (The Times £)

Boots could be sold or floated by the end of the year as the bosses of its US parent company are put under huge pressure to break up the global pharmacy giant. Investors and board members want Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of the Walgreens Boots Alliance, and chief executive Rosalind Brewer to speed up plans to refocus the business on the US. (Daily Mail)

Short-sellers are turning on Ocado after the online grocer posted an eye-watering £501m loss. (Daily Mail)

Food producers are taking up record volumes of warehouse space in the UK, as the industry looks to prevent shortages such as those of fruit and vegetables that left supermarket shelves bare earlier this year. (Financial Times £)

Retail sales volumes beat expectations to rise by their biggest margin in months to return to pre-pandemic levels in February (The Times £). British retail sales jumped in February, rebounding for the second successive month, while consumer confidence increased in March (Financial Times £). Britain’s economy is on track for a return to growth in the first three months of the year after a jump in retail sales and signs of sustained activity in the private sector this month (The Guardian). Official figures have shown a much larger than expected pick up in retail sales last month as a closely-watched measure of consumer confidence reaches its highest level in a year (Sky News).

Wetherspoons’ relationship with its biggest beer supplier, AB InBev, is in jeopardy in an extraordinary legal row that lifts the lid on a pricing dispute between one the UK’s largest pub chains and the world’s biggest brewer. (The Times £)

JD Wetherspoon has warned that “ferocious” inflation has hit its business, as the pub chain posted a small profit but sales continued to lag behind pre-pandemic levels (Financial Times £). The boss of JD Wetherspoon expressed cautious optimism over the pub company’s prospects amid signs of recovery from the “ferocious” inflationary pressures faced by the sector (The Times £). Wetherspoons has reported a post-pandemic return to profit - but warned “ferocious” inflation has hit its business (Sky News). The boss of JD Wetherspoon has warned it could be “catastrophic” for pubs and restaurants to hold off raising prices as costs continue to soar, as the pub chain revealed that the “ferocious” impact of inflation has fuelled a dramatic increase in its bills (The Guardian). Wetherspoons provided a ray of light amid a sea of red on the London stock market after it issued an upbeat trading statement (Daily Mail).

The price of Whiskas has risen sharply in the past year and pet owners have taken to the brand’s Facebook page to vent their outrage over the smaller packets, which are 85g rather than 100g, but cost the same. (The Guardian)

The chief executive of Fortnum & Mason says holding in-store cooking demonstrations and offering customers “small luxuries” will help it lure in younger shoppers rather than its typical clientele. (Telegraph £)

Altria’s plan to come back from its disastrous $12.8bn investment in Juul is drawing it into a head to head fight for the US smokeless tobacco market with Philip Morris International, the former sister company it tried to recombine with four years ago. (Financial Times £)

The outgoing technology supplier to the UK’s National Lottery is in a stand-off with the new operator, in a dispute highlighting the fraught process surrounding the first change of licensee in the lottery’s 29-year history. (Financial Times £)

All UK honey tested in EU fraud investigation fails authenticity test – adulteration of honey with cheap sugar syrup has been exposed in a new investigation by the European Commission, which found 46% of sampled products were suspected to be fraudulent. (The Guardian)