Britain’s biggest supermarkets have rejected accusations from MPs that the industry is behaving like “a cartel” and is fuelling inflation by profiteering from soaring food prices (The Times £). Supermarket executives have denied making too much money from soaring prices, telling MPs the industry is the “most competitive we have ever been” (BBC). Executives from the country’s biggest supermarket chains have defended their grocery prices but backed the idea of greater fuel transparency over claims customers are paying over the odds for both (Sky News).

The boss of Morrisons has admitted that supermarkets have increased profits at the petrol pumps as he was quizzed by MPs alongside executives from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda who denied they were making more money from keeping food prices high. (The Guardian)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will have food companies, energy suppliers and banks in his sights when he meets regulators on Wednesday to discuss ways to address the cost of living crisis. (Financial Times £)

The Guardian’s Nils Pratley writes: “This committee session would have been better timed after the CMA has opined on food and fuel prices. The competition regulator has the power to demand commercially sensitive price information of a sort that is never likely to be coughed up to MPs in a public forum… Until the CMA reports, the view here remains the same: yes, “greedinflation” is very likely to be contributing to inflation globally, but supermarkets are not the obvious candidates to put in the dock.” (The Guardian)

Alistair Osborne in The Times writes: “True, the committee landed a few points: an admission from Potts that maybe there’s been a bit of extra profit on fuel… But, on the whole, this was a missed opportunity. Listen to the MPs and no one could be any wiser on whether the supermarkets are profiteering or not.” (The Times £)

The Mail’s Alex Brummer comments: “With four major chains competing for customers with Lidl and Aldi and a raft of more specialist grocers, including the Co-op, Waitrose and M&S, opportunities to price gouge are limited. The problem lies elsewhere in the food supply chain… The MPs might better have focused attention on the big multinational branded goods suppliers, such as Nestle, Heinz and Coke.” (Daily Mail)

“Supermarkets are running out of excuses for the surge in prices,” write Ben Marlow in The Telegraph. “On Wednesday, the Chancellor is expected to wade into the debate demanding to know what regulators are doing to prevent companies from exploiting soaring inflation. His intervention is well-timed. Official food inflation is stuck at more than 18%, and like Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, the major supermarkets are starting to run out of excuses.” (Telegraph £)

Boots, Britain’s biggest high street chemist, is to pull down the shutters on 300 shops over the next year as part of a cost-cutting drive by its American owner (The Times £). Boots is to close 300 shops in the year ahead despite a 13.4% rise in quarterly turnover fuelled by high sales of sunscreen during the UK’s hot spell (The Guardian). Boots will close 300 stores in the UK and a further 150 Walgreens branches in the US over the next year as parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance seeks to “optimise” locations (Financial Times £). The US-owners of the pharmacy chain said they will shut down stores in close proximity to each other as part of plans to “consolidate” the business (BBC). The news comes on the same day parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance reported Boots had “strong” retail sales and recorded growth (Sky News).

Boots will shut 300 stores across Britain over the next year as speculation mounts over a potential break-up by its US owner. (Telegraph £)

Diageo will end its business relationship with Sean Combs, known as Diddy, after the businessman and rapper alleged racial discrimination by the drinks group, which it “categorically denies” (Financial Times £). The maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky and Guinness filed legal proceedings against Combs Wines and Spirits, claiming his “bad-faith actions have clearly breached his contracts” (The Times £). Spirits giant Diageo is ending its relationship with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs after the US rapper launched a legal action, accusing it of racism (Daily Mail).

Clampdowns on unhealthy meal deals and supermarket temporary price reductions for foods high in fat, sugar or salt are to be introduced in Wales to help tackle the obesity crisis. (The Guardian)

Consumer goods giant PZ Cussons has raised expectations for full-year profits after reporting higher sales, especially in Africa. (Daily Mail)

Marks & Spencer has begun an effort to help retail investors vote at its AGMs in hope of boosting “shareholder democracy”, amid mounting political concern over the apparent decline of the stock market. (Telegraph £)

Ted Baker’s former chief executive is set to join the board of Ocado Group amid speculation that the online grocer faces a takeover. (Daily Mail)

Shopping at Tesco without a Clubcard feels like daylight robbery, writes Katie Morley in The Telegraph. Britain’s largest supermarket’s irritating loyalty pricing is getting out of hand. (Telegraph £)