Source: Asda

UK consumer spending growth slowed at the start of the year as rising living costs and restrictions imposed to contain the high number of coronavirus infections limited social activity, according to bank transaction data from Barclaycard (The Financial Times £).

Britain’s biggest retailers have warned that soaring living costs will hit consumer spending after a mixed start to the year amid concerns about the Omicron variant (The Guardian).

The supermarket chain Asda has committed to making its cheapest food ranges more widely available, after the anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe raised concerns that low-income shoppers were facing price increases because they could no longer get hold of them (The Guardian).

The retailer said it had “taken on board” her comments about availability of cheaper food for households struggling to make ends meet (BBC News).

The Guardian looks at what kind of ammunition supermarkets have to fight a price war, and what are they doing to limit increases on popular items while protecting profits?

The founder of beer brand Cobra has said prices will have to rise because of a “vicious cycle” of cost pressures (BBC News).

The Alphaville column in The Financial Times (£) dives into the latest quarterly figures of meat producer Tyson Foods and observes inflation has delivered a massive 24% jump in revenues despite a fall in volumes.

The Telegraph argues in a business editorial that Unilever must axe Ben & Jerry’s before the brand becomes a poison pill. “Ice cream brand’s social activism risks unravelling any future deals,” it writes.

Lyssa McGowan is set to be the second woman chief executive of a FTSE 250 retailer after agreeing to join Pets at Home from Sky TV (The Times £).

The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) says inflation means McGowan’s job is “no walk in the park”.

The Guardian examines which UK shops are the best value for lunch meal deals.

Personalised vitamins business Vitl has raised £6.5m from investors including Alex Chesterman, the founder of Zoopla and the New York-listed Cazoo, and Richard Pennycook, a former boss of The Co-operative Group (The Times £).