BHS’ threat to close 40 stores unless it can secure lower rents dominants the papers today.

“BHS goes to war with landlords over rent bill” is the headline in The Times (£), writing: “The retailer entered a company voluntary arrangement yesterday after talks with landlords stalled. The move will pitch BHS against some of Britain’s largest institutional landlords.”

The Guardian suggests has told landlords it will shut 50-60 shops without substantial reductions in rent, while another 30 are also at risk without cuts. “Hundreds of jobs could be lost if BHS presses ahead with its threat,” the paper writes.

The company said that while its flagship Oxford Street branch was not among the leases it was trying to renegotiate, it would look to find new tenants for the space, according to The Financial Times (£). The FT says: “The store, in one of London’s most valuable retail locations, is half-unoccupied and noticeably quieter than neighbouring stores such as Nike and Zara.” The Telegraph notes retailer lost £85m last year. Its owners have taken a £65m loan and leased its flagship Oxford Street store as they have sought to slash costs.

The Daily Mail concludes: “Much of the negotiation is brinkmanship – if an agreement is not reached then landlords could end up with nothing.”

The Times (£) adds that Darren Topp is bracing himself for a “bumpy few weeks”. Topp told The Times: “We have been speaking to landlords for the last 12 months and we have made it clear that we have this chunk of stores that simply don’t work. I think the key message for me is they [landlords] have had it good for a while.”

Elsewhere, Sainsbury’s has clarified that it is able to go hostile in its bid for Argos-owner Home Retail Group, following a request from the Takeover Panel. Sainsbury’s made clear it could waive pre-conditions relating to due diligence and – crucially – that any bid would have the recommendation of the Home Retail board. But it added: “There can be no certainty that Sainsbury’s will proceed with an offer for Home Retail even if the pre-conditions are satisfied or waived.” (The Guardian)

Sales growth at Costa Coffee has slowed considerably this year, with owner Whitbread blaming a combination of warm winter weather and a fall in the number of shoppers heading out to high streets (The Financial Times £, The Guardian). While The Telegraph says slowing growth at Costa Coffee left a bitter taste with investors after the leisure giant’s new boss Alison Brittain disappointed shareholders for a second time with her latest update.

British wine producers are aiming for a tenfold increase in wine exports in five years and intend to rapidly expand the amount of land on which vines are planted. The wine industry is experiencing a boom with production doubling in the past five years and Taittinger, the champagne house, announcing that it has bought a farm in Kent on which it will produce English sparkling wine. (The Times £)

Major British food brands and supermarkets buying cod from Arctic waters risk having their supply chain “tainted” because of links with fishing further north in the Arctic, Greenpeace has warned. An investigation by the group has revealed that suppliers of cod to Birds Eye, Findus and Young’s are using controversial giant bottom trawlers in the northern Barents Sea around Svalbard, an area deemed by scientists to be ecologically significant. (The Guardian)