City Snapshot: Nestlé ‘working hard’ to maintain Christmas supply of Quality Street
7 October 2021
Nisa extends supply contract with Ramsden International
7 October 2021

Tesco shares soared after profits doubled and it announced a major share buyback (The Daily Mail). The UK’s largest retailer has reported a doubling of first-half profits and raised its full-year outlook – shrugging off the challenges posed by supply chain disruption in the industry (Sky News).

The boss of Tesco has vowed to lower prices even further in the run-up to Christmas as its rivals scramble to keep shelves stocked amid a severe shortage of drivers (The Telegraph)

Tesco is to increase its use of trains to distribute products by almost 40% as its boss credited investment in rail freight for helping to keep its shelves stocked during the lorry driver crisis (The Guardian).

Alex Brummer in The Daily Mail writes: “It is terrific that Murphy is not lining up with the serial whingers about a lost Christmas. It is taking care of itself, arguing that although there may be ‘bumps in the road’ it has worked with suppliers. It wants to make sure the shelves are stocked and is at 98 per cent capacity having embraced rail freight to lessen dependence on road. Why didn’t others think of that?” (The Daily Mail)

Tesco’s chief executive defended the retail industry’s record on employment as he unveiled a £500m share buyback and upgraded its full-year profit forecast after a strong first half. (The Financial Times £)

Tesco has sought to draw a line under its accounting scandal seven years ago by paying £193 million to settle investors’ claims, a larger amount than its penalty from the fraud watchdog. (The Times £)

The boss of Britain’s biggest retailer desperately wanted to turn the volume down on the noisy rhetoric from Westminster about how it was up to business to fix the shortages that have been dominating the headlines (The Times £). “The prime minister and Tesco boss Ken Murphy may as well be sharing a hymn sheet. Tesco is far from whingeing, as Johnson has accused British bosses of doing about the supply chain disruption, input price inflation and worker shortages. Instead, the company has invested and increased wages. And it seems to be working.” (The Financial Times £)

Alistair Osborne in The Times writes: “Ken Murphy’s bravura performance did raise one question: who exactly was his target audience? Obviously, the shareholders and shoppers. But was Murphy also sending a message to two other keen Tesco-watchers? First, his competitors. And, second, any wannabe buyers of the business, inspired by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice carrying off Morrisons for £7.1bn.” (The Times £)

Ocado is investing £10 million in the driverless car start-up Wayve as part of a year-long trial that could result in autonomous grocery deliveries. (The Times £)

The tobacco giant behind Davidoff cigarettes disappointed investors yesterday despite saying that it was on course to meet expectations for the year (The Times £). Tobacco giant Imperial Brands lost some heat as it warned the lifting of lockdown restrictions is hitting cigarette sales (The Daily Mail).

British dairy farmers say they have poured tens of thousands of litres of milk away due to the HGV driver shortage – and fear it is just the “tip of the iceberg” ahead of winter. (Sky News)

JAB Holding, the European investment group behind brands such as Pret A Manger, Panera Bread and Krispy Kreme, is seeking to raise a fresh $5bn fund to extend its spree of dealmaking in the booming petcare sector. (The Financial Times £)

The bubble seems to have burst for former stock market darling The Hut Group with the company’s shares sinking for nearly a month (The Daily Mail). After its shares fell sharply last week, The Hut Group’s top brass tried to instil some positive sentiment as company insiders bought £150,000 of shares (The Times £).

The maker of Quality Street and Lion bars has said it is experiencing some supply chain problems ahead of the Christmas period. But Mark Schneider, the chief executive of Nestle, told the BBC that it was working hard to make sure products made it on to shelves this winter. (The BBC)

Nestlé has unveiled plant-based versions of shrimp and eggs as the world’s largest food company tops CHF1bn ($1.1bn) a year in sales of vegetarian and vegan products thanks to changing diets and environmental concerns (The Financial Times £). Nestlé describes Vrimp, made out of seaweed and peas, as an exciting innovation, with the alt-seafood having the “authentic texture and flavour of succulent shrimps” (The Guardian).

It is Dairy Milk but without the dairy. A plant-based version of Cadbury’s classic bar is to go on sale in the UK next month as part of a drive by major food companies to expand their vegan ranges (The Guardian).

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