Sainsbury’s has blamed the ongoing price supermarket war for another drop in sales and signalled it will continue to slash the costs of its everyday goods to compete with its food retail rivals (The Telegraph). Sainsbury’s ceded more ground to rivals Tesco and Morrisons as well as the budget stores after it today posted its second consecutive quarterly drop in like-for-like sales (The Daily Mail)
The supermarket chain also recorded its first ever quarterly fall in clothing sales as damp weather in early summer deterred customers from buying T-shirts and shorts, while a balmy August and September delayed the annual surge in winterwear sales. (The Financial Times £)
Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said there had been no discernible impact on customer behaviour after the EU referendum, and he thought there would not be any impact on shopping unless and until the UK’s step away from the union started to “interfere with or influence people’s day-to-day lives”. (The Guardian)
Sainsbury’s took a step towards answering City critics of its purchase of Argos yesterday, revealing that its new business had achieved like-for-like sales growth of 2.3% in the second quarter to August. Argos’s advance offered a reminder of why Sainsbury’s is intent on becoming “a multi-product, multi-channel” retailer, rather than solely a seller of food and drink, writes The Times (£).
But The Telegraph’s Ashley Armstrong suggests Sainsbury’s “could discover it just has too much in its trolley”. She writes: “Sainsbury’s is proving just how complicated the modern world of food retail can be. Not only does it need to find new ways to lure shoppers to its vast stores, but now it is offering customers the opportunity to have goods delivered by bike within an hour… The retail industry is rapidly changing, but with so many challenges ahead Coupe could do with fewer Little Twists, in case he finds himself in a tangle.” (The Telegraph)
The day’s other big news was SABMiller shareholders have backed a £79bn takeover by Budweiser brewer AB InBev, clearing the way for the biggest deal in UK corporate history (Sky News). Fears that hedge funds could derail Anheuser-Busch InBev’s £79bn takeover of SABMiller proved unfounded yesterday when shareholders of both companies voted overwhelmingly to back the deal (The Times £).
The tie-up of the world’s two largest beer makers concludes a year of financial wrangling to create a mega brewery which will be responsible for three in every ten beers sold worldwide (The Telegraph).
In Brussels, where AB InBev shareholders also endorsed the deal, the brewer announced that the enlarged group’s name would remain AB InBev, with no incorporation of the SABMiller moniker. That provoked some disappointment at the already subdued London gathering. (The Financial Times £)
Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev will pay $6m to settle charges that it violated US foreign corruption laws, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Wednesday — just hours after the brewer cheered the acceptance of its £79bn bid for rival SABMiller (The Financial Times £). The world’s biggest brewer has been fined £4.6million after being caught bribing officials into promoting its beer – and then trying to silence a whistleblower by threatening them with a £200,000 fine. (The Daily Mail)
Consumer goods group PZ Cussons says there has been “some improvement” in its Nigerian business after the country switched to a floating exchange rate this summer. (The Financial Times £)
The Serious Fraud Office has stepped up its inquiries into the collapse of BHS and the conduct of the department store chain’s former owner Dominic Chappell. The Guardian understands that the SFO has contacted individuals involved in running BHS before it fell into administration in April, and the administrators themselves, and asked for a series of documents.