Co-op boss Richard Pennycook’s shock departure was broken yesterday by Sky News and the papers this morning react with concern over the implications of his surprise exit. “Co-op’s future in doubt as ‘saviour’ heads for exit” is the headline in The Times (£), which writes: “The sudden exit raised questions about the direction of the Manchester-based group, which has been regarded as getting back on its feet after nearly collapsing four years ago.”

He took a big cut to his basic pay last year at his own request, arguing that the hard work of rescuing the Co-op was complete (The Financial Times £). Pennycook was a key figure in saving the Manchester institution from collapse (The Guardian). However, the chairman of the Co-operative Group has refused to rule out putting more money into the ailing Co-op Bank amid heightened concerns over its capital position (The Telegraph). The bank is expected to report fresh losses next month and there is growing pressure for regulators to step in (The Daily Mail)

Nils Pratley in the Guardian writes: “Co-op chair Allan Leighton is overdoing it when he says the departing Richard Pennycook “saved” the organisation –but a little hyperbole is forgivable. Pennycook’s undemonstrative style helped to ensure the Co-op members finally woke up to years of shambolic governance and voted through some sensible reforms.” (The Guardian)

Meanwhile, the papers almost universally focus on Aldi overtaking Co-op as the nation’s fifth biggest supermarket in their write-ups of latest Kantar Worldpanel grocery market share figures. “Aldi jumps the queue to move ahead of Co-op”, writes The Times (£). Aldi has attracted 826,000 more shoppers than the same period last year after it opened 70 new stores (The Guardian). It is the latest milestone in a decade of rapid growth for Aldi, which was the UK’s 10th largest food retailer ten years ago, writes The Telegraph. “Aldi’s growth, whilst still impressive, is slowing,” (The BBC).

Charles Wilson’s charm offensive to win support for Booker’s proposed £3.7 billion merger with Tesco made a positive start yesterday, with one independent shopkeeper calling him a “goose that lays the golden eggs”. (The Times £)

L’Oréal, the French cosmetics giant, is exploring a €1bn sale of its struggling retail unit The Body Shop, in a move that may see it jettison the ethical British skincare business it acquired just over a decade ago. (The Financial Times £)

Mondelez International on Tuesday warned that a “backlash against globalisation” and the Brexit vote are among the many challenges facing the maker of Oreos, as US multinationals grapple with an uncertain political climate in major markets at home and abroad. (The Financial Times £)

Heineken will try to fill bars with its own beer when it snaps up Britain’s second biggest pub chain for £1.8bn. The Dutch-brewer is closing in on a deal to buy 1,900 Punch Taverns pubs with the other 1,329 being sold to a private equity group. But Punch tenants claim Heineken plans to force pubs to stock 85 per cent of its own brands, which include Amstel, Foster’s and Birra Moretti. (The Daily Mail)

Grocers await green shoots of recovery in vegetable shortage, writes the FT. Stores are rationing produce rather than let canny traders buy in bulk. (The Financial Times £)