Sainsbury’s expects a £60m boost to profits after bumper Christmas trading driven by the closure of pubs and restaurants and customers splashing out more on luxury food (The Financial Times £). Sainsbury’s has hiked its full-year profit forecast after sales surged by nearly a tenth during the key Christmas period as customers raced to stock up in the face of new restrictions (The Telegraph). Sainsbury’s has upgraded its profit expectations by £60m after surging sales of champagne, steaks and other luxury food drove stronger than expected sales over Christmas and new year (The Guardian). Sainsbury’s shares hit the highest level for nearly two years yesterday after it said roaring Christmas sales were set to boost its profits by £60m (The Daily Mail).

A last-minute rush for smaller turkeys after Christmas Covid rules were tightened and a boom in online grocery deliveries has boosted J Sainsbury’s profit expectations (The Times £).

Nils Pratley in The Guardian writes: “Sainsbury’s Christmas trading update was a demonstration of why the boards of all the big supermarket chains were obliged to come to their senses last month and concede that, yes, all that relief on business rates had to go back to the Treasury.” (The Guardian)

Britain’s leading retailers are reviewing their supply chains to Ireland and other European markets while they work out how to avoid tariffs imposed by the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU (The Financial Times £). British retailers are concerned at new trade barriers being applied after last month’s trade deal with the EU (The BBC).

John Lewis has scrapped its international delivery service as a string of British firms abandon shipping to the European Union (The Telegraph). Customers in Europe buying products ranging from furniture to pet food from UK companies are receiving unexpected bills for VAT and customs declarations or finding household names have stopped shipping to the continent, as post-Brexit trading rules bite (The Guardian).

Discount store chain B&M plans to open more stores after a strong third-quarter sales performance (The Financial Times £).

B&M Bargains has doled out a 20p-a-share special dividend to shareholders as well as £30m to its boss Simon Arora after the cheap retailer enjoyed a bumper Christmas (The Daily Mail). The boss of B&M has enjoyed a £30m payday after the discount retailer announced another special dividend following a boom in festive sales (The Times £). The billionaire Arora brothers who own B&M have handed themselves a £30m payout after the fast-growing discount retailer reported booming sales in the run-up to Christmas (The Guardian).

The Guardian looks at the rapid rise of B&M’s Arora brothers – when Simon and Bobby Arora bought B&M in 2005, it was a failing chain of just 21 stores, now it is a near-£4bn empire (The Guardian).

Retailers are calling for more financial support from the government after shopper numbers dived more than two-fifths last year (The Guardian). Retailers hoping for a recovery over Christmas have been left disappointed, according to figures on sales and footfall (Sky News).

Over three-quarters of businesses in the accommodation and food service sectors, including hotels and restaurants, experienced a drop in profits and turnover over the last few weeks compared with expectations in normal times, new data suggests. (The Daily Mail)

The liquidators of Patisserie Valerie are suing Grant Thornton for £200m over alleged negligence in its audits of the café chain that collapsed following a suspected significant accounting fraud (The Financial Times £). Liquidators to Patisserie Valerie have launched a £200 million legal claim against Grant Thornton, auditor of the cake chain that collapsed amid a suspected fraud (The Times £). Liquidator FRP Advisory has launched a claim against the accountancy giant, which audited the cake shop’s accounts for 12 years before it went bust (The Daily Mail).

The UK meat industry has called for the early vaccination of workers to keep food supplies running smoothly during the coronavirus crisis. It warned that absences during the pandemic, coupled with disruption at ports, could hit food supply chains. (The BBC)

Walgreens Boots Alliance expects benefits from Covid-19 vaccinations to cushion the impact of the pandemic and has stuck to its full-year earnings growth forecast, sending its shares up 5% in New York (The Times £).

The owner of All Bar One and Harvester may become the first business to tap shareholders for new funds after being hit hard by a third national lockdown (The Times £). The pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers, which owns pub chains including O’Neill’s and restaurant brands such as Harvester, has said it may ask investors for emergency funds to help it survive an “extremely uncertain” future (The Guardian). Pub group Mitchells & Butlers has said it is mulling an equity raise after national lockdowns and the tiered system caused its sales to plummet over the last few months (The Daily Mail).

The boss of Creed Foodservice is one of many firms facing potentially having to throw away food after schools suddenly closed to most pupils this week. The blow came after firms ordered extra stock to accommodate any supply disruption ahead of new Brexit rules. Wholesalers have also been hit by restaurants and pubs closing again. (The BBC)

Japan’s Kirin is under intense criticism by activists after an investigation failed to uncover whether proceeds from its beer venture in Myanmar went to the country’s military, which has been accused of crimes against humanity. (The Financial Times £)

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