Ocado has told investors it will pause the construction of more automated distribution centres in the UK, the latest sign of a pullback in demand for online grocery delivery. In a recent presentation to analysts it said two new “customer fulfilment centres” (CFCs) scheduled to open in 2024 and 2025 would be delayed. (The Financial Times £)

The owners of Morrisons are drawing up plans to identify a new chief executive a year after acquiring it in a £7bn deal. US-based private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice has retained Egon Zehnder International to strengthen the grocer’s executive ranks. (Sky News)

Primark owner AB Foods topped London’s premier index yesterday after analysts said it was best placed to deal with the ‘perfect storm’ ahead for the retail sector (The Daily Mail). Goldman Sachs isn’t the biggest fan of Associated British Foods, but the American bank’s decision to do away with its “sell” rating for the Primark owner was enough to push the shares to a four-month high (The Times £).

The cost of the items that make up a traditional Christmas dinner has risen three times faster than wages this year, according to research from the Trades Union Congress (The Guardian). Christmas dinner will be nearly 22% more expensive this year than in 2021, according to new research for the BBC (The BBC).

Households are switching from buying fresh food to cheaper frozen goods as the cost of living bites into budgets, the boss of Tesco has said. Ken Murphy, chief executive of the UK’s largest supermarket, said some shoppers were also swapping pricier red meat for cheaper white protein to save money. (The BBC)

The UK’s big four supermarkets have been accused of deliberately failing to pass on falls in the wholesale price of petrol and diesel in a “scandalous” ploy to cling on to massive margins. (The Times £)

Climate change and the war in Ukraine are set to keep food prices at far higher levels than before the Covid-19 pandemic, despite signs of moderation in global commodity markets, economists and agriculture experts have warned. (The Financial Times £)

Online retailers have had record volumes of goods returned after the Black Friday shopping weekend, a snapshot survey suggests (The Times £). Online retailers have been hit by a ‘boomerang Friday’, with returns last month up more than a quarter on a year ago (The Daily Mail).

Many pubs and breweries across the UK will be forced to shut their doors for good as they face rocketing losses without further energy support, industry bosses have warned (The Guardian).

Longstanding regional beer brands such as Skinner’s of Cornwall and Strathaven in Lanarkshire have called it a day thanks to soaring energy and raw material costs, and the ravages of Covid. On Friday, Somerset brewer Wild Beer Co, collapsed for similar reasons. (The Times £)

Clive Chesser, chief executive of Punch Pubs, has has guided his group’s 1,300 pubs through the dark days of Covid lockdowns and, more recently soaring inflation, energy bills and staff shortages. But he now faces another even more immediate problem. ‘The timing of this is awful,’ he says, imagining the impact four days of rail strikes planned from December 13 will have on his industry. (The Daily Mail)

John Lewis is to turn down the temperature in its department stores and Waitrose supermarkets will dim their lights in an attempt to bring runaway energy bills under control. (The Guardian)

Supermarkets and food producers have called on the government to increase investment in renewable energy. For supermarkets, a reliance on gas and other fossil fuels to generate electricity ultimately leads to higher bills to run stores, which in turn means higher prices for shoppers. Tesco, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Co-op Group and Community Energy England, are urging Rishi Sunak to prioritise incentives. (The Times £)

Britain’s hastily designed seasonal worker visa is causing a headache for supermarkets, which are concerned its structure is incompatible with their public pledges on preventing human rights abuses and debt bondage in their supply chains. (The Guardian)

Matthew Moulding’s beauty empire is trying to block the entrepreneur behind its bestselling Myprotein product from reviving a legal claim against the company. (The Times £)

Prices for India’s prized Darjeeling tea have tumbled this year after buyers including Tetley-owner Tata slashed purchases over a regulatory spat about blending different leaves, with growers warning that a financial crisis is threatening the “champagne” of brews. (The Financial Times £)

Analysis by The Sunday Times shows that despite a slew of statements announcing plans to quit the country, more than a dozen of Britain’s biggest companies continue to operate there, either with operations in the country or through stakes in Russian businesses. They include British American Tobacco, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser. (The Times £)