Tesco CEO Dave Lewis

Tesco boss Dave Lewis “pressed on merits of Booker tie-up” as it prepares to issue its annual results, writes The Times (£). The City will look for reassurance on Tesco’s future profitability and the benefits of its merger with the wholesaler Booker when it reports its annual results this week. Analysts are expected to focus on chief executive Dave Lewis’s promise to restore Tesco’s profit margin to 3.5%-4% by 2020, after several lean years when the chain has struggled against the discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Tesco is poised to reveal bumper results on Wednesday that will buck the high street gloom, says The Daily Mail. Analysts estimate the group will report a pre-tax profit, excluding one-off costs, of about £1.2bn, a 60pc increase on last year – an increase likely to be hailed as a success for chief executive Dave Lewis The Daily Telegraph. The figures are still expected to be significantly lower than Tesco’s 2013-2014 peak, when it posted £3bn in underlying pre-tax profits. Tesco is expected to give investors a first glimpse of how its efforts to combine its operation with Booker’s is faring.

The Guardian this weekend picked up on story on Friday (see The Grocer’s write-up here) that Bestway was set to acquire Conviviality Retail in a £7.25m pre-pack deal. The newspaper says the deal was completed just before midnight on Friday. Much remains unexplained about the sudden collapse of Conviviality, writes The Times (£), which says “spreadsheets plus human error can add up to disaster”. One source close to the company said an “arithmetic error” led to it inadvertently exaggerating expected profits from its wholesale division by £5 million a year in January - caused by someone entering a line into a spreadsheet program months ago when they should not have.

The sugar tax, which came in on Friday, is likely to leave a “sour taste as a flawed policy that rebounds on the Tories”, according to an opinion piece in The Times (£). It says a tax on fizz seems more likely to provoke a public backlash than many other taxes on unhealthy products. The government could be forced into a humiliating climbdown. In Illinois, the sugar tax lasted less than a year, the writer notes. The newspaper also says this kind of intervention undermines that government’s rhetoric about “just about managing” households. It adds that the government risks ridicule in the evaluation processes set up to measure whether the sugar tax has been a success. It concludes it is unlikely to be a recipe either for improved public health or for electoral success.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies have raised questions about the efficacy of the levy. It says the tax might result in young people switching to healthier drinks but it is unlikely to help those who have a high-sugar diet The Observer.

Bridgepoint if finding it hard to let go of Pret A manger after nearly a decade of ownership, says the Financial Times (£). It faces a dilemma: sell the ready-to-eat food chain to the highest bidder – trade or financial – or float it on the New York Stock Exchange. William Jackson, Bridgepoint managing director, says all options are open and refuses to rule out a sale rather than an initial public offering. The market is expecting a seven times the return on the initial investment of about £200m.

Short sellers are targeting high street retailers and restaurants, research from Linklaters shows, says The Times (£). The law firm says the businesses have also been on the end of a 66% increase in the number of short positions over the past three years. It says 38% of the top-50 shorted companies last year were consumer companies. Marks & Spencer, Greencore, are in the top-10 shorted firms, and Morrisons, Greene King and Ocado, in the top-20.

Britain’s largest mutual The Co-op has returned to profit, helped by improved business performance, cost-cutting and the severing of ties with its troubled lender the Co-operative Bank (The Times £, The Telegraph).

US president Donald Trump has predicted “a deal will be done” that defuses the tit-for-tax tariff battle with China (The Times £). He tweeted on Sunday “China will take down its trade barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become reciprocal and a deal will be made on intellectual property. Great future for both countries.”

Irate shoppers have been bombarding Waitrose sister chain John Lewis after what the Financial Mail on Sunday called a “customer service meltdown” at its home furnishings division.

Meanwhile, Britain’s businesses have a long way to go to get “match fit” for Brexit, according to productivity tsar Sir Charlie Mayfield, despite a marked improvement in output over the past two quarters. (The Times £)

The Daily Telegraph asked on Saturday whether House of Fraser could survive “struggling high streets, rising costs and mercurial Chinese owners”.

Archie Norman, who chairs Marks & Spencer and who turned around Asda, will accompany Westfarmers chairman Michael Chaney on store visits this week as the future of the Australian business’s trouble Homebase hangs in the balance The Guardian.

Guy Singh-Watson, founder of vegetable box company Riverford Organic Farmers, is handing more than three quarters of the business to his 650 employees as part of plans to create a structure where the staff will have a say in its future The Observer

The Financial Times (£) wrote in-depth on Saturday about how Steinhoff’s European war “ended in the defeat of Christo Wiese”.

Investors in Greene King will be hoping that this week’s trading update will not leave them crying into their pints of Old Speckled Hen. They have had to swallow a lot of bitter news in recent times, with its share price halving since a peak in December 2015. (The Times £)