Tesco fruit and veg

Lidl has become the latest major supermarket chain to ration sales of some fruit & vegetables after an increase in shoppers looking for them followed rival retailers implementing their own restrictions (The Guardian).

Lidl became the fifth supermarket to introduce rationing as the government summoned senior executives from some of the leading UK grocers to discuss the supply chain problems (The Financial Times £).

As The Grocer reported, a spokeswoman for Lidl said the decision had been made “due to a recent increase in demand” and would “ensure that all of our customers have access to the products they need”. 

An opinion column in The Financial Times (£) argues that supermarkets should consider their role in the great British salad crunch. “Supply chain breakdown has led to a shortage of vegetables but low prices are also to blame,” the paper writes.

An opinion column in The Guardian looks at how the basics, such as tomatoes, became more expensive than oysters.

Pippa Wicks, the turnaround specialist hired to get John Lewis back on track, has left the partnership. It was unclear why Wicks, who joined from Co-op, suddenly left the business (The Times £).

In the shock announcement, the department store owner said executive director Wicks was going ‘with immediate effect’ (The Mail).

Wicks is succeeded by Naomi Simcock, the John Lewis retail director, who takes over immediately on an interim basis (The Guardian).

The Tempus shares column in The Times (£) thinks there is more in store in M&S turnaround and gives the stock a ‘buy’ recommendation. “Shares are cheaply valued given the progress made in strengthening the balance sheet.”

The owner of Primark said full-year profits would be ahead of the company’s previous estimates as shoppers hunting for bargains flocked to its stores (The Financial Times £).

Sales at Primark’s 419 stores have held up better than expected and should rise 16% to £4.2bn in the half-year to 4 March, the company told investors on Monday (The Mail).

Associated British Foods said consumer spending had proved to be more resilient than it had forecast and it now expected profit margins at Primark to be “above 8%”, higher than City analysts’ forecasts (The Times £).

Associated British Foods said people were planning for their holidays despite the cost of living crisis, with strong sales of luggage and beachwear such as sunglasses, swimwear, beach footwear and shorts (The Guardian).

The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) takes a look at ABF’s trading update and writes that the fast-fashion group has enjoyed shopping’s speedy recovery. “ABF has come through the pandemic in good shape,” it writes.

A feature in The Guardian asks if private equity is tearing the soul out of Morrisons. “The UK chain’s thrifty founding family would never have run it this way. Now, with high debts and falling profits, signs look grim.”

Britain and the EU clinched a deal on Monday to settle the toxic dispute over post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland in a watershed moment for the two sides (The Financial Times £).

Marks & Spencer is stepping up its war on plastic waste by launching a ‘bring your own bag’ initiative at hundreds of stores (The Mail).

Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes in the US, is nearing a deal to buy e-cigarette company Njoy for at least $2.75bn, according to people familiar with the matter (The Financial Times £).