George Osborne’s “living wage” will have a “devastating” impact

It’s not the busiest morning for coverage of the grocery sector, but the “living wage” row is continuing to generate column inches.

The Times has picked up on yesterday’s comments from the Association of Convenience Stores that George Osborne’s new national living wage will have a “devastating” impact and could result in local shops closing and tens of thousands of job losses nationwide. The body said more than 24,000 stores and 80,000 jobs could be put at risk. It calculated that the total cost of the introduction of a £7.20 national living wage would be £166 million across the convenience sector and cautioned that the bill would rise further when it hits £9 an hour. (The Times £)

Meanwhile, Swedish retail giant Ikea has announced it will adopt the Government’s new living wage from April 1 next year, affecting 50% of its 9,000 workers in the UK. The Telegraph says Ikea is “one of the first retailers to commit to raising the minimum hourly rate it pays its British staff ahead of government guidelines”. The Guardian hails a “massive breakthrough” and quotes Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, saying: “You need a first mover in every sector. This opens up some fruitful conversations with others who have said this is impossible in retail and it can’t be done. It can.”

There is some more coverage of the confirmation of The Grocer’s exclusive that LDC was to buy Seabrook Crisps. The Telegraph writes that the deal comes “amidst a wave of interest in the snack sector” with Natural Balance Foods, the maker of Trek and Nakd health bars, up for sale and the recent takeover of sandwich and food-to-go company Adelie by buyout group HIG Capital.

The rise of online shopping is continuing to hurt the British high street with footfall slumping by almost 3% in June. Consumers also shunned shopping centres with footfall 2.4% lower last month than in May as they favoured out of town retail parks, according to the latest figures by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and data consultants Springboard. Footfall across the UK retail sector fell in total by 1.5%. (The Telegraph)

The FT has a piece on the convenience sector in Japan, with the market’s number two operator Lawson insisting there is still massive potential for growth in the country. (The Financial Times £)

The success of Jurassic World helped US toy-maker Hasbro boost second-quarter earnings and beat market expectations, despite battling some strong currency headwinds overseas, sending shares up 6% (The Financial Times £)