The Mail reports that Tesco is planning the biggest revamp of its own-brand food in its 99-year history – and scrapping thousands of big name labels from its shelves. The UK’s biggest supermarket has boosted sales of its own-label products by phasing out its Everyday Value brand and clearing its shelves of thousands of non-Tesco items.
Tesco is trialling new “shop and go” technology that allows customers to scan and pay for their groceries on their smartphone and then walk out of the store without visiting a till. The retailer is using staff at its Welwyn Garden City headquarters as guinea pigs for the Scan Pay Go service in a purpose-built Express convenience store on the site (The Guardian).
Crumpets are the latest victims of a shortage of carbon dioxide that has affected food and drink production across the UK (The Guardian). Warburtons said it had been forced to suspend crumpet production at two of its four bakeries, in Enfield in London and Burnley in Lancashire, because it did not have enough gas for use in packaging designed to keep the products fresh.
Warburtons have dished out almost £12 million in dividends, despite a fall in profits and revenues at the family-owned bakery (Evening Standard). Warburton 1876 Limited, the bakery business’s ultimate parent company, gave out £2.3 million in dividends to chairman Jonathan, along with £3.7 million and £5.4 million respectively to cousins and executive directors Brett and Ross in 2017.
Shares in UK beer and pubs group Greene King fell 11 per cent in early trade on Thursday, after the company reported a slip in adjusted profit before tax amid a “challenging trading environment” (Financial Times). The group said adjusted profit before tax, stripping out exceptional items, was down 11.2 per cent to £243m over the year to April 29. Statutory pre-tax profits advanced 6.8 per cent to £197.5m.
Imperial Brands shares were ignited by the tobacco giant snapping up a stake in a medical marijuana research firm, an investment described by analysts as the “most significant” yet by a tobacco company in the cannabis industry (Telegraph). Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies raised “approaching £10m” from Imperial, Casa Verde Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by rapper Snoop Dogg, and private investors.
Amazon declared its intention to move into US healthcare business by acquiring an online pharmacy group that delivers prescriptions to the homes of patients with chronic ailments, sending investors fleeing from traditional pharmacy chains (Financial Times, Telegraph). The acquisition of Pillpack, which had previously been reported as an acquisition target for Walmart, comes after months of anxiety in the healthcare industry that Amazon would sell prescription medication in its bid to become a one-stop shop.
US coffee chain Starbucks saw its shares hit a near three year low after it announced its chief financial officer plans to retire later this year (Financial Times). The news that Scott Maw — who has been chief financial officer since 2014 — will retire effective 30 November sent Starbucks shares down 4.4 per cent to $47.62.
The tobacco industry suffered a setback in attempts to halt the rising tide of regulation after the World Trade Organisation upheld a landmark ruling on plain tobacco packaging (The Times, Reuters). The panel yesterday ruled that the plain packaging law in Australia contributed to improving public health by reducing the use and exposure to tobacco products.
Consumers have become more gloomy about the economy, businesses are less confident about the future, and growth in the private sector is slowing, according to a raft of downbeat surveys. “Consumers are yet again feeling less upbeat,” said Joe Staton, strategy director at GFK, which issued its barometer of consumer confidence today (The Times).
Deliveroo is to pay a six-figure bill to settle an employment rights battle brought by dozens of its riders, underlining continuing tensions over the treatment of so-called gig economy workers (Sky News).
US buyout firm Carlyle is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Codorníu, Spain’s oldest maker of sparkling wine, in a deal that values the family-controlled company at €390m ($452m) (Financial Times).
Investors are stocking up on US company BJ’s Wholesale Club, sending shares of the discount warehouse retailer soaring as it returned to public trading seven years after being taken private (Financial Times).