The competition watchdog is investigating the £6.8bn takeover of Asda by a private equity consortium fronted by the Blackburn-based petrol station billionaires Mohsin and Zuber Issa (The Guardian). Britain’s competition body has begun an investigation into the proposed takeover of Asda by petrol station tycoons the Issa Brothers and their private equity partner (The Daily Mail).

November was the biggest month ever for UK grocery sales with shoppers spending almost £11bn as the return of lockdown in England drove supermarket purchases of food and alcohol (The Guardian). Shoppers splashed out a record £10.9bn on groceries last month in a lockdown rush to stock up for Christmas, data shows (The Telegraph). Britain’s supermarkets have reported their busiest month on record, with shoppers spending £10.9 billion in stores and online (The Times £). Supermarkets are set for a £12bn Christmas shopping bonanza as families stuck at home splash out record sums on food and drink (The Daily Mail).

Sales of Christmas lights have more than tripled as consumers planned to put up their festive decorations early, according to retail industry data. (Sky News)

Record festive shopping means it’s payback time for supermarkets, writes Ben Marlow in The Telegraph. The grocers have enjoyed £2bn of undeserved tax breaks in a pandemic where we are shopping more than ever before. (The Telegraph)

The UK on Wednesday announced it would extend a ban on commercial landlords evicting tenants until March 31 next year, providing more breathing space to companies hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. (The Financial Times £)

Britain is desperate for high streets to be saved and renewed government support through a VAT break, an extension of the business rates holiday and the relaxation of Sunday trading laws could start the recovery, according to research by Primark. (The Times £)

Holiday shopping in a pandemic: Can stores save the season, asks The FT? From a virtual ‘Dial-a-Santa’ to outdoor markets and shops on wheels — the tactics high-end retailers are using to save the season. (The Financial Times £)

Paul Marchant writes in The Times: “Blaming lockdowns and saying that Covid-19 has merely speeded up an inevitable and permanent switch from in-store to online shopping is not merely to oversimplify a complex issue, it’s also wrong. All we can say confidently about the increase in online shopping during lockdown is that the shops were shut. Anyone who thinks that shopping in person is over or outdated would be naive.” (The Times £)

The November lockdown in England brought to an end five months of strong retail sales but the consumer sector showed much more resilience than in the spring, with online purchases soaring and strong spending on electronics and digital entertainment. (The Financial Times £)

Could Brexit make my food more expensive, asks The BBC? As an extreme case, the London School of Economics estimates that some speciality cheeses such as halloumi and roquefort could be 55% more expensive. (The BBC)

Factories are shutting, food could rot on the dockside and Christmas presents may go undelivered as a perfect storm of Covid chaos and Brexit stockpiling batters the UK’s port system. (The Telegraph)

Businesses say a global shipping crisis is causing freight costs to soar and UK consumers may soon see price rises for imported goods. (The BBC)

The growing ecommerce boom has driven record demand for warehouse space across the UK, as the pandemic forces more retailers to shutter stores and operate online. (The Telegraph)

Tesco has removed more than 20m pieces of single-use plastic from its Christmas range this year – including crackers, lights, cards and the packaging for puddings – as part of a national drive to reduce plastic pollution. (The Guardian)

As thousands of small coffee shops shut, Starbucks’ boss is bullish. CEO Kevin Johnson eyes market share gains as rivals falter and customers return to the office. (The Financial Times £)

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