Asda cannock

Source: Asda

Asda is merging with petrol forecourt company EG UK

Competition regulators are set to wave through the £10bn merger of Asda and the petrol forecourt company EG UK, despite admitting that a weakening of competition had contributed to higher prices at the pumps amid a cost of living crisis (The Sunday Times £).

Conservative MPs and retailers have hit out at UK government plans to encourage supermarkets to cap the price of food staples (Financial Times £).

Ministers are working with supermarkets to voluntarily cap the price of basic food items in an effort to ease the UK’s cost of living squeeze, but insists it is not considering imposing price caps (The Guardian).

UK shop price inflation reached its highest rate for at least 18 years in May, despite the pace of food price growth marginally easing, according to new sector data (Financial Times £).

Food inflation has fallen for the first time in almost two years as lower energy and commodity costs filter through to some staples including milk, butter and fruit (The Times £).

After more than a year of sharp increases in the price of food, the British Retail Consortium said annual food inflation eased this month from 15.7% to 15.4%, even as the overall rise in shop prices hits a fresh high (The Guardian).

The Telegraph argues in a business editorial that “we’re flushing the solution to volatile food prices down the drain”. The paper says that Britain could be self sufficient in fertilisers and save our dying rivers in the process.

The Guardian examines if shoppers can really save money by buying frozen food. “Some experts claim heading for the freezer will cut costs and help save the planet.”

Consumers buying Mars bars at Tesco in the coming days will notice a change: the chocolate bar’s usual plastic wrapper has been swapped for a more environmentally friendly paper one (The Guardian).

The new environmentally friendly packaging will remind older fans of how the bars were sold until 1977 - when they were still wrapped in paper by hand, as they had been since launch in 1932 (Telegraph).

Waitrose has been forced to apologise to shoppers after IT issues left a number of stores with empty shelves. Waitrose supermarkets across the country saw shelves completely bare, with essentials like fruit and vegetables not being delivered due to a system update taking longer than expected (The Telegraph).

Waitrose has been told by the RSPB to use bird-friendly bricks to build its new housing scheme, as Dame Sharon White comes under pressure to deliver on her plans to cut John Lewis’s reliance on retail (Telegraph).

Endorsements are being sought from senior company bosses for John Allan, the former president of the CBI, in an effort to support the City veteran after allegations about his behaviour towards women (The Times £).

Ocado is facing demotion from the FTSE 100 index this week following a slump in its share price (Mail).

The Sunday Times (£) interviews billionaire investor Daniel Kretinsky, known as the Czech Sphinx, on the the future of Royal Mail and Sainsbury’s. The paper writes: “He supports the Sainsbury’s management team, led by Simon Roberts, and has been angered by accusations of profiteering levelled at supermarkets in the cost of living crisis. “Retailers are living with margins that cannot be any slimmer than this,” he says. “Sainsbury’s efforts to bring down prices and keep the right value for customers are completely exemplary, so blaming them is completely unfair.””

A founder of the Leon chain of restaurants is backing the daughter of Dan Wagner, the technology entrepreneur, in a £5 million fundraiser for an app that helps brands to work with celebrity influencers (The Sunday Times £). The Grocer reported the moved earlier this month.

The chief executive of Philip Morris International says the maker of Marlboro cigarettes is charting a path to becoming an ESG stock as part of a push to win back investors that have shunned the stock because of tobacco exclusion policies (Financial Times £).

Financial Times (£) takes an in-depth look at the fight for survival at UK mid-market dining chains after Covid and cost of living woes. “Squeezed consumers and inflation punish groups that expanded beyond city centres.”

Black tea, apples, berries and even a bit of dark chocolate could help to keep your mind sharp, according to a study into the effects of flavanols on cognition (The Times £).