Co-op partners with Amazon to offer grocery delivery to Prime members
16 September 2021
City Snapshot: John Lewis cuts losses but exceptional costs leave it in the red
16 September 2021

Rise in food and transport costs sends inflation soaring to highest increase on record (Sky News). UK inflation made its biggest jump on record in August, adding to pressure on households as the government ramps up taxes on workers and prepares to cut universal credit benefits from next month (The Guardian). Price rises have seen the biggest jump since records began in 1997 as the economy continued to reopen (The BBC). Policymakers caught out as inflation rockets to nine-year high (The Times £). The cost of living jumped by the largest amount on record last month as pandemic chaos caused prices to rise (The Daily Mail).

Businesses are facing a punitive £1 billion rise in business rates next year as a result of soaring inflation caused by distortions during the pandemic. (The Times £)

John Lewis has embarked on a hiring spree of temporary workers and has promised free food to attract new recruits ahead of the Christmas shopping rush (The Telegraph). English breakfasts, Sunday roasts and other free meals are being been offered to potential recruits by the John Lewis Partnership in a bid to sign up 7,000 Christmas workers (The Daily Mail). The John Lewis Partnership has revealed plans to recruit more than 7,000 temporary staff across the country this Christmas (The Times £). John Lewis Partnership is planning to hire thousands more workers ahead of Christmas as it gears up for a busier – and more challenging – festive season (Sky News).

Investors in Fever-Tree Drinks breathed a sigh of relief after the upmarket tonic-maker reported strong sales and issued reassurance that the fall in margins behind July’s profit warning had not got any worse (The Times £). Sales at drink mixer maker Fever-Tree soared in the first half of 2021 as hospitality venues reopened and ‘long mixed drinks’ grew in popularity (The Daily Mail).

The Co-op has faced criticism as it begins selling groceries via Amazon and revs up 300 more delivery robots with the aim of almost tripling online sales to £200m. (The Guardian)

Independent retailers and food outlets are stepping into the gaps left by chain stores on the UK’s high streets, retail parks and in shopping centres, driving the first rise in their numbers in four years. (The Guardian).

The owner of UK restaurant chains including Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s has warned that customer numbers have fallen across the industry, even as it looked to upgrade its earnings forecast based on current sales (The Financial Times £). The owner of restaurant brands including Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s has warned of price rises as it becomes the latest firm to count the cost of supply chain strains and worker shortages (Sky News). Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group was the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 as it fell victim to the staff shortages and rising costs sweeping the UK (The Daily Mail). Wagamama-owner Restaurant Group hailed ‘good progress’ over the past half-year and forecast an increase in 2021 profit as it gave a trading update on Wednesday (The Daily Mail).

One of the most prominent figures in the British pubs industry is to take the helm at C&C Group, the drinks producer behind brands including Magners and Bulmers. (Sky News)

Investor activism cannot fix Unilever’s trust deficit, writes the FT. Analysts want action while confidence in management is depleted but activists have no short-term fixes. “The traditional Unilever break-up theory involves splitting food from soap, which would require unpicking nearly two decades of work to integrate supply chains and offices.” (The Financial Times £)

Danone’s new chief executive Antoine de Saint-Affrique faces an uphill battle to reignite sales growth at the French consumer goods maker, with analysts predicting that the turnround will take several years. (The Financial Times £)

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