John Lewis Partnership was forced to defend the health of its pension fund yesterday after it emerged that the market value of its pension assets had plunged by £2.8bn last year. (The Times £)

John Lewis, the beleaguered retailer to middle England, will have to overhaul its business model “at pace”, its new chief executive told employees this week (The Financial Times £). Nish Kankiwala was appointed to the newly created post of chief executive last month by Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of the group, to help the employee-owned retailer to “thrive for another century” (The Times £).

‘Shop-floor staff must try to save John Lewis — not look to Sharon White’. Sir Stuart Hampson, the company’s former chairman, is adamant that, in his words, ‘if the person behind the counter is the owner of the business, they deliver a better and more concerned service’ (The Times £). John Lewis boss Dame Sharon White came under fresh pressure after an ex-chairman called the possible sale of a stake to an outside investor ‘highly undesirable’ (The Daily Mail).

Retail veteran Allan Leighton is to quit as Co-op chairman as the mutual presses ahead with the biggest cost-cutting push in its 160-year history. (The Telegraph £)

Marks & Spencer is embarking on a fresh round of job cuts in its head office. Teams are being reduced across the board, largely through natural attrition, as part of a rolling cost-cutting drive. (The Times £)

CD&R has explored the feasibility of merging Morrisons with Motor Fuel Group, its petrol forecourt empire. Those plans may be dusted off in the coming years, but in the meantime, Morrisons’ owners are focused on digging the supermarket out of a hole. (The Times £)

The chairman of Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, says he cannot forecast when rises in food prices will peak. But John Allan said the supermarket was “doing our bit” to help customers cope with the impact of high inflation. (The BBC)

Sabotage by supermarket rivals risks stopping Aldi hitting its target of having 1,200 stores across the UK by 2025, its chief executive has said. (The Telegraph)

Sainsbury’s has bulked up its team of culinary masterminds in an attempt to lure shoppers put off by the end of Waitrose’s Heston Blumenthal range. (The Telegraph £)

Asda’s 140,000 employees can now choose to be paid in advance to alleviate some of the pressures caused by rising food and energy costs. (The Times £)

An investment vehicle set up by one of the founders of Lovefilm is plotting a rescue bid for Planet Organic, the struggling grocer. (Sky News)

The private equity backer of Café Rouge’s parent company has joined a host of suitors hoping to dine out on Princes Foods, the company behind some of Britain’s most popular tinned foods. (Sky News)

The pension fund at Boots could act as a ‘poison pill’ that derails plans by its American owner to offload the high street chemist chain. (The Daily Mail)

Food price inflation remains an enigma, however. That’s not just because it is so high but also because, if the British Retail Consortium is right, it has yet to reach a peak. (The Times £)

Increasing numbers of people are avoiding eating out and more than half have cut back on non-essential spending this year as the cost of living takes its toll, a survey shows (The Times £). More than half of UK consumers have cut back on discretional spending since the start of the year, with nearly two-thirds choosing to reduce the amount they spend on eating out, according to research from KPMG (The Guardian).

Cows in the UK could be given “methane blockers” to reduce their emissions of the greenhouse gas as part of plans to achieve the country’s climate goals. (The Guardian)

Marks & Spencer chairman Archie Norman is spearheading the most high-profile campaign for popular capitalism since the 1980s’ ‘Tell Sid’ privatisations. Norman has written to Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch asking for amendments to company law to boost shareholder democracy. (The Daily Mail)

Italy Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s ban on lab-grown meat and animal feed may simply mean her rightwing government seeks to protect local farmers. But there does not seem to be a need for that quite yet. (The Financial Times £)

The FT’s sister publication Investors’ Chronicle suggests buying AG Barr shares. Cost pressures hit margins, but revenue and profit progress demonstrate the strong brand equity on offer. (The Financial Times £)