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Greggs Reading store

Greggs’ shares have climbed the most of any FTSE 350 firm yesterday after it released upbeat third-quarter results showing trade surpassed pre-Covid levels (The Mail).

Greggs has said it is “firefighting like crazy” to maintain supplies of key ingredients even as it upgraded its profit forecast for this year (The Financial Times £).

Higher business rates risk are making some of its stores unviable, Greggs has warned, as ministers consider overhauling the tax (The Telegraph).

Greggs said while it had some short-term protection from cost increases after stockpiling ingredients, it expected them to increase in the coming months and into 2022 (The Guardian).

Greggs posted a 3.5% rise in third-quarter sales compared with 2019 as it was boosted by Britons on staycation holidays visiting its shops in August, while the return of office workers last month helped sustain like-for-like growth at 3% (The Times £).

Hotel Chocolat has come out of the pandemic stronger than before thanks to booming digital sales, which more than offset the repeated closure of its stores (The Mail).

Hotel Chocolat has added to the concerns about shortages and price rises in the run-up to Christmas after revealing it is increasing prices across its chocolate range (The Times £).

PepsiCo warned yesterday that it is likely to raise prices early next year, as it looks to overcome ever increasing supply chain challenges that include a shortage of Gatorade bottles and a lack of lorry drivers (The Times £).

The culling of healthy pigs has begun on British farms, with farmers forced to kill animals to make space and ensure the continued welfare of their livestock, amid an ongoing shortage of workers at slaughterhouses (The Guardian).

The Telegraph looks at how shortages threaten to plunge Britain into Christmas crisis.

The Times (£) explores how missing EU workers are causing pain in the economy.

Petrol prices are at their highest level in eight years as crude jumped further after the cartel of oil-producing nations decided not to turn on the taps (The Telegraph).

Petrol prices could reach all-time highs before Christmas, the RAC warned, signalling “misery” for motorists still reeling from the fuel shortage crisis (The Guardian).

Businesses raised prices at the fastest pace on record last month as they continued to grapple with staff shortages and supply chain problems, a closely watched survey suggests (The Times £).

Private equity firms are offering the highest premiums for listed companies in more than two decades, paying almost 70 per cent above the prior share price in some cases, in a sign of the widening gap between cash-rich buyout groups and public market investors (The Financial Times £).

The Issa brothers’ EG Group has agreed to sell 27 petrol stations to Park Garage Group to address the concerns of the competition regulator relating to the brothers’ acquisition of the British supermarket Asda (The Times £).

The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) turns its focus to the faltering Hut Group, where share prices have tumbled drastically. The paper says CEO Matt Moulding should brace himself for tough questions. “The Hut Group, one of last year’s hottest initial public offerings in the UK, is beginning to resemble a ramshackle lean-to.”

A business editorial in The Guardian also looks at why THG investors are starting to question the CEO’s ambition. “When your share price falls by a third in the three weeks after a big announcement that was supposed to reveal hidden value within your company, you’ve got a problem.”

Amazon has launched its first 4-star store outside the US in a shopping centre near London, marking another stage in its experimentation with physical retail formats. (The Financial Times £).

Amazon has opened a new bricks and mortar concept store selling electronics, books, toys and kitchenware in a fresh assault on physical rivals such as John Lewis and Curry’s (The Telegraph).

Employers have hit back at the government’s “horrifying” anti-business rhetoric after senior Conservatives accused companies of becoming hooked on cheap labour during Britain’s membership of the EU (The Financial Times £).

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