Aldi is aiming to have more stores than Sainsbury’s across the UK, in an expansion plan that targets London and Home Counties shoppers (The Times £). Aldi has revealed an ambitious goal to grow the number of British stores by 50% as shoppers continue to seek bargains amid the cost-of-living crisis (Daily Mail). Aldi is planning to open 500 more stores in the UK. Giles Hurley, the company’s CEO in the UK and Ireland, said the supermarket chain has seen a surge in demand during the cost of living crisis (Sky News).
British American Tobacco, the world’s biggest cigarette maker by revenues, has formally agreed to sell its Russian business, a year and half after first vowing to exit the country in the aftermath of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine (Financial Times £). BAT, one of the world’s biggest tobacco groups, based in London, said the business had been offloaded to a consortium led by members of its Russian management team “in compliance with local and international laws” (The Times £). British American Tobacco revealed it will finally sell its Russian and Belarusian businesses, 18 months after its initial announcement (Daily Mail).
Russia/Ukraine: companies weigh investor disapproval with cost of exit. About 1,000 companies registered in the US, Europe and other Ukraine-allied countries accounted for revenues of about $172bn in Russia last year. Ultimately, if the cost of staying is negligible, the withdrawal of western business from Russia will continue as a slow retreat. (Financial Times £)
Shares in the UK’s leading listed vet firms plunged after regulators launched a probe into prices. Shares in Pets at Home closed down more than 9% at 343.2p, wiping £169m off its market capitalisation. (Daily Mail)
The chairman of Wagamama’s parent company is to step down after months of pressure from activist investors, even as its financial performance outpaces that of rivals. (Sky News)
Five million disposable vapes are thrown away each week in the UK, a fourfold increase over the past year, according to research from recycling campaign group Material Focus. (BBC)
Activist investors will press a company’s board to sell off sluggish divisions, but that has happened less in UK retailing as failed formats can end up as distressed assets sold at bargain basement prices. That suggests limited options for WHSmith and M&S. The former seems to have accepted an inevitable run-off of its high street business. For M&S, stagnation describes its clothing business more accurately than a managed decline. (Financial Times £)