About 5,000 jobs are at risk at Asda after the supermarket group launched a big restructuring in response to the rapid rise of online shopping (The Times £). Asda has warned that 3,000 workers in its stores are at risk of losing their jobs as the chain plans to ramp up investment in online sales (Sky News). Asda is to slash thousands of back office jobs and focus on conquering the online grocery market as it prepares for new ownership under the billionaire Issa brothers (The Telegraph). About 5,000 jobs are at risk at Asda, which is shutting two warehouses and eliminating thousands ofback-office jobs as part of an online grocery push (The Guardian). Supermarket group Asda will hire 4,500 new workers to handle an expected expansion in online grocery orders, but plans to make 5,000 other store staff redundant (The Financial Times £). Proposed cuts include 3,000 back office store jobs and 800 in warehouses in Dartford in Kent and Heston in the London borough of Hounslow, which will close (The Daily Mail).
Investors rushed to snap up a box seat at DS Smith yesterday after it emerged that Mondi, a rival FTSE 100 packaging company, was exploring a potential takeover (The Times £). DS Smith was in high demand as chatter grew that Mondi is mulling a takeover bid for the box-making behemoth (The Daily Mail).
Primark will take a £1.5bn hit to sales from the current lockdown, although most stores should be open again by the end of April (The Telegraph). Primark has lost out on £1.1billion worth of sales in the last six months amid lockdown closures, owner Associated British Foods admitted today (The Daily Mail). The owner of Primark says it expects to lose £1.1bn in sales during the first half of its financial year through the coronavirus crisis-enforced closure of its stores – with more to follow (Sky News). Sales at Primark have dropped £1.5bn while its shops have been closed during the pandemic, but the fast-fashion retailer predicted a surge in shoppers when the high street reopens (The Guardian). The owner of Primark said yesterday that the latest lockdown would cost the chain £1.6 billion in lost sales, but it struck an optimistic note about prospects when shops reopen (The Times £). Associated British Foods predicted that sales at its fashion chain Primark would make a strong recovery once coronavirus-related store closures, which will all but wipe out first-half profit, are lifted (The Financial Times £)
The flotation of Virgin Wines is about to realise big gains for its management and private equity backers after a share placing valuing the business at £110 million was three times oversubscribed. (The Times £)
The chief executive of food delivery app DoorDash says the company will be able to thrive after Covid-19, even though a successful rollout of the vaccine will probably mean headwinds for his business this year. (The Financial Times £)
The world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a smaller hit to 2020 sales than expected and said it expected “meaningfully” better numbers this year as the pandemic began to recede. (The Financial Times £)
A group of Conservative MPs is calling for a reduction in the tax paid on beer in next week’s Budget. They have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak arguing a cut in beer duty would support pubs which are struggling to survive the “devastating” impact of the pandemic. (The BBC)
Business confidence has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic amid optimism about Britain’s vaccination programme. (The Times £)