Punch Taverns is under the microscope today after announcing a 12% drop in profits, prompting an extended metaphor in The Times about how the company is “staggering around like an old soak… trying to find the toilets”.

There is speculation in the Daily Mail that time is about to be called on the pub operator, which has a hefty bar tab upwards of £4bn. The Daily Telegraph also takes a look.

Elsewhere in the pub trade, The Times notes that fellow operator Fuller Smith & Turner has nabbed three landmark London boozers from rival Mitchells & Butlers. And drinking while pregnant makes your baby like the smell of booze, according to the Telegraph.

There will be doubles all round at  John Lewis, meanwhile, which is today named the UK’s favourite shop. Waitrose drops from second last year to seventh this time out but there’s some good news for Marks & Spencer, which enters the top 10 in ninth.

The Mail also flags up a controversial (and possibly flawed) study from Sweden that suggests battery hens are healthier than their free-range counterparts – something sure to ruffle the feathers of animal rights campaigners.

And talking of creatures in small cages, Sea World – along with the rest of the Busch Entertainment empire – is set to go under the hammer shortly, as InBev looks to hive off assets worth a combined $7bn following last year’s merger. The FT takes a look.

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