British American Tobacco is to write down the value of some of its US cigarette brands by £25bn because of economic headwinds damaging sales in its biggest market (The Financial Times £).
The company said Camel, Natural American Spirit, Newport and Pall Mall – which were acquired in a £40bn takeover of cigarette giant Reynolds American in 2017 – are now worth far less than anticipated (The Mail).
British American Tobacco accelerated its shift towards alternative products, including its Vuse vaping brand, amid increasing clampdowns from regulators and awareness of the health risks of smoking (The Times £).
The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) says BAT’s trading update on Wednesday cast its traditional business in poor light.
The headline on the business editorial in The Times (£) goes with ‘No smoke without fire at BAT’. “BAT will remain a fags-based killing machine for quite a while yet,” the column concludes. “One writedown doesn’t make a smokeless world.”
Morrisons and Marks & Spencer have been criticised by the competition watchdog for breaking land use laws to stop rivals from opening nearby stores (The Times £).
The Competition and Markets Authority slammed both firms after discovering a total of 65 agreements which limited competition (The Mail).
The CMA said M&S and Morrisons either placed restrictions on land they owned to prevent rival stores from opening there or stopped landlords from signing deals with their rivals (The Telegraph £).
The CMA slammed Morrisons for having the “poorest compliance record” it has so far seen. Read the full story here in The Grocer.
The billionaire brothers who bought Asda are selling more than 200 KFC restaurants as it battles sky-high debts (The Mail).
EG Group said it will sell all its 218 KFC franchises in the UK and Ireland to the fast-food chain’s Kentucky-based parent company Yum Brands (The Telegraph £).
THG’s activist investor has stepped up its campaign by urging the company to confirm break-up plans (The Times £).
Profiteering has played a significant role in boosting inflation during 2022, according to a report that calls for a global corporation tax to curb excess profits (The Guardian).
Hybrid working patterns and the strains of modern life mean that households are ditching the tradition of hree meals a day in favour of regular snacking, a survey for the Waitrose Food and Drink report found (The Times £).
The cost of living crisis has spurred a flight to comfort food, with Britons choosing shepherd’s pie, macaroni cheese and oven chips over more exotic dishes, while smashed avocados are being edged out by cheaper “peas on toast” (The Guardian).
McDonald’s has announced the details of its new restaurant idea, CosMc’s, which would operate in the same market segment as Starbucks (BBC News).