ocado m&s

Ocado will start selling M&S groceries online in September

Marks & Spencer is undertaking a huge operation aimed at hanging on to Ocado customers when it replaces Waitrose as the online grocery company’s supplier next month (The Times £). It has copied some of Waitrose’s most popular items and developed 750 new ones in a bid to prevent an exodus of shoppers loyal to its rival.

In the first of a three-part series, The Times (£) outlines how Middle England will become the battleground for store wars. The first part takes a look at Ocado deal bringing M&S food online. 

Up to 1,500 jobs are to be cut by WH Smith after the disruption caused by lockdown and travel restrictions pushed the retailer deep into the red (The Times £).

The retailer says it must cut costs as shops in airports and train stations are hit by lack of passengers and high street footfall also suffers (The Telegraph).

Full-year losses of up to £75m are forecast by WH Smith as coronavirus depresses passenger numbers at transport hubs (The Financial Times £).

The Guardian also reports in the same story that M&Co, the Renfrewshire-based fashion retailer previously known as Mackays, will close 47 shops as part of a pre-pack administration, leaving 215 open. The closures will cost just under 400 jobs, out of a total workforce of about 2,600.

The scale of Britain’s jobs bloodbath has risen above 100,000 with the news from WH Smith (The Mail).

Morrisons has announced that it will cut its café meal prices by 50 per cent for the whole week, extending the government’s scheme by an extra four days (The Times £).

One of Coca-Cola’s biggest bottlers cheered investors after reporting early signs of recovery from the lockdowns imposed across most of its markets (The Times £). Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, which operates in 28 countries, said the decline in comparable revenue had narrowed from 36% in April to 5% last month as it gained market share.

The services sector grew at its fastest rate in more than five years last month as the economy started to regain momentum after the lockdown (The Times £). The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for the services sector rose from 47.1 to 56.5 – comfortably above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

Surge in services raises hopes of a ‘V-shaped recovery’ as businesses grew at their fastest pace in five years last month as lockdown restrictions eased and customers rushed back to spend money (The Telegraph).

The Financial Times (£) asks “will eating out really help out?”

In a Big Read The Financial Times (£) looks at food security in a piece headlined “Pandemic revives Gulf fears over food security”.

The Bank of England warned that the UK economy will not exceed pre-Covid-19 levels until end of 2021 (The Financial Times £).

One of the most important measures that has helped retailers survive the impact of Covid-19 has been the suspension of business rates, The Telegraph writes in a business opinion column. “Return of business rates will unleash carnage on the high street.”

Amazon has been accused of “opting out” of fair taxes after passing on a levy on tech giants to small businesses (The Times £).

Amazon is facing a backlash after it announced plans to hit small businesses that sell items on its website with higher fees to absorb a new digital tax in the UK (The Mail).