Asda has suspended its drawn-out search for a chief executive, with one of the Issa brothers now heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the supermarket chain. Britain’s third biggest grocer has been without a boss since last August, when Roger Burnley left ahead of schedule after a disagreement over strategy with Asda’s new owners. (The Times £

Britain’s private equity-owned supermarkets are increasing prices more dramatically than rivals, raising questions over whether the buyouts of Morrisons and Asda will leave shoppers worse off as inflation rips through the economy, writes The Times citing The Grocer’s Grocer 33 data. (The Times £

Official figures on Friday showed that prices in UK shops are rising at “similar” levels for both poorer and richer families, undermining claims that inflation was much higher for low-income households (The Financial Times £). Inflation is almost the same for rich and poor households, official figures have showed, but soaring food and energy bills mean low-income households stand less chance of avoiding the hit from rising prices (The Dail Mail). 

Jack Monroe’s sudden intervention has exposed how the rise in the cost of living is a burden borne most heavily by low earners, who spend 38% of their income on groceries, heating and electricity. In the wealthiest households, the equivalent figure is 18%. (The Times £

Shares in Ocado fell sharply after suffering a setback in its legal battle with AutoStore, with a German judge halting proceedings in the latest row over patents between the British group and the Norwegian robot maker. (The Times £

Unilever needs a chairman with City savvy to lead it out of this mess, writes Oliver Shah in The Times. “The root of the problem, though, is Unilever’s weak non-executive board. The only figure of any clout is former Credit Suisse banker and Shire chairwoman Susan Kilsby. The chairman, Nils Andersen, is barely known in the City and has given Jope no public air cover in the past few weeks.” (The Times £

Alan Jope has won a rare public vote of confidence in his battle to give Unilever a social purpose after a major investor urged the company to “improve the healthiness” of its food brands. The beleaguered Unilever chief executive should “take further action and lead the industry” on nutrition and health issues according to Candriam, a French investor which looks after more than €150bn (£125m) of assets. (The Telegraph

Private equity groups are circling Boots as its US owner kicks off a sale of the 172-year-old pharmacy chain. Walgreens Boots Alliance is preparing to send out information about the business to potential buyers. (The Daily Mail

Marks & Spencer has drawn up plans to take a £150m slice of the £14bn homeware market by tempting shoppers at its food halls to buy towels, crockery or duvets. (The Daily Mail

UK food and drink firms say they remain concerned about supply shortages as a deal which ensured carbon dioxide supplies comes to an end. Industry body the Food and Drink Federation is warning supermarkets could suffer shortages of some foods if the deal with US firm CF Industries is not extended. (The BBC
B&M has done well during the pandemic given its value offer and out-of-town locations, but some analysts think that its appeal will soften as people return to town centres and have less money to spend on discretionary purchases, like homeware. Others, though, believe the squeeze on incomes will make its value offer more appealing. (The Financial Times £

Consultants who specialise in supply chains are having a torrid time. As companies around the world grapple with bottlenecks, shortages and burgeoning demand, supply chain management has moved to the top of corporate agendas like never before. (The Financial Times £

‘People want to put Covid behind them’: UK pubs hopeful as drinkers return. Fuller’s chief thinks Monday will be ‘trigger point’ for revival as plan B eases and Dry January ends. (The Guardian