Ministers are preparing to relax post-Brexit plans for border checks on food and other imports from the European Union because of fears that they will further damage trade and could lead to severe shortages in UK supermarkets. (The Guardian)

A string of British ports are urging the government to delay the next wave of Brexit red tape, saying that border checkposts will not be ready for the July deadline, while inland customs facilities being built are also behind schedule. (The Guardian)

Mohsin and Zuber Issa plan to revive Asda with nail bars and salons, writes The Times. The brothers have spun a fortune out of reinvigorating hundreds of tired forecourts. Now, the new owners of Asda want to repeat the trick in supermarkets – planning to shrink the floor space dedicated to groceries by about a quarter, to make way for everything from cafés and takeaways to nail bars and beauty salons. (The Times £)

Deliveroo will distribute a £50m funding pot to restaurants, riders and community groups as it seeks to portray itself as a responsible corporate citizen following a blockbuster flotation that could value it at around £7.5bn (Sky News). Deliveroo will hand bonuses of up to £10,000 to loyal riders as part of its £8 billion stock market listing (The Times £). Deliveroo will reward its busiest riders with bonuses of up to £10,000 when the food delivery firm lists its shares on the London Stock Exchange (The BBC)

Anti-obesity activists using the lever of forcing unwanted shareholder resolutions on blue-chip companies have claimed victory after Tesco agreed to set itself public targets to sell healthier food. (The Times £)

Record food sales and a doubling of their online business in months should be nirvana for supermarkets — but being open all hours to feed the nation has done little for profits. Now the big grocery chains are wondering what they’ll be left with when normality returns. (The Times £)

The owner of one of the most popular Australian wine brands sold in the UK could be about to fall into the hands of a French predator. Speculation is mounting that Treasury Wine Estates, distributor of the Penfolds label, has been approached about a buyout that could value it at more than £5bn. (The Daily Mail)

Leisure and hospitality businesses have accused the government of being “unable to add up” after putting a £2 million cap on the business rates discount unveiled in the budget. (The Times £)

The high street needs a long-term health plan, writes Mary Portas in The FT. “Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see [business rates] reform later this year. But maybe doesn’t really cut it at a time when shopkeepers and entrepreneurs need to be able to look ahead and plan their fixed costs. Maybe we’ll see the so-called “Amazon tax” on online retailers to level the playing field. That sounds good. But why do I get the distinct feeling those costs will end up on consumers’ plate?” (The Financial Times £)

The John Lewis Partnership is expected next week to detail the full costs of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and will blame its decision not to repay its millions of pounds in business rates relief on the annual losses that analysts expect. (The Times £)

Department store giant John Lewis has launched its first ever ‘buy now, pay later’ offer online to help satisfy a surge in demand for interest free credit. (The Daily Mail)

Dame Sharon White, who took over as John Lewis Partnership chairwoman last year and faced a formidable challenge even before the pandemic, is fending off calls from council leaders around the country concerned that her plans to shrink John Lewis’s shop numbers will mean the loss of their “halo” effect. (The Times £)

Supermarket firm Morrisons has quietly built a wholesale business worth more than £1billion, analysts have calculated. The company last week extended a deal with convenience chain McColls and it has a separate partnership with Amazon which includes supplying the online giant’s new London store. (The Daily Mail)

Drinks industry chiefs may be hoping for a new “roaring 20s” when coronavirus restrictions ease, but millions of households have already embarked on an era of upmarket stiff drinks in their living rooms as Covid-19 reshaped global drinking culture. (The Financial Times £)

Fast-food chains are gobbling up high street sites left vacant by struggling retail and casual dining operators as they target aggressive expansion in the UK. (The Financial Times £)

A Russian discount retailer has raised $2 billion from a flotation in London and Moscow. In the latest boost to the market for UK listings, Fix Price set a price for its shares at the top of its previously indicated range. (The Times £)

The subscription economy was already gathering steam before Covid turbocharged it. Consumers can pay monthly for digital services as well as sign up for regular deliveries of goods: razors, coffee, socks and meal kits can all be bought this way. (The Times £)

Investors want to see fresh blood brought in at Danone. The decision to keep on its incumbent boss as chairman is likely to restrict the freedom of an incoming chief executive, analysts warn, particularly if they are promoted from inside the company. (The Telegraph)

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, is facing criticism for awarding another £190m contract to a company blamed for the problems with a school meals voucher system that left families without food during the first lockdown. (The Guardian)

‘I’ll stand the heat if I can get in a kitchen,’ says Compass boss Dominic Blakemore. After a year that saw Covid empty most offices, he now wants us all back in the canteen. (The Times £)

Walmart has poached Omer Ismail, the leader of Goldman Sachs’ start-up consumer banking business to lead a fintech partnership set up by Walmart and venture firm Ribbit Capital. “I think Walmart means to go big,” writes Robert Armstrong in the FT. “They are not going to offer services as a way to encourage loyalty to their core retail business. They mean to make profits here, and that means gathering capital and lending it.” (The Financial Times £)

 

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