Media Bites February 14: Supermarket Essence, John Lewis/Waitrose, British American Tobacco | News

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Supermarkets are set to reap windfall profits on petrol as soaring oil prices threaten to deepen the cost of living crisis. The grocery giants have increased their profit margins on gasoline over the past three months, according to data provided by the RAC. (The time £)

John Lewis Partnership has harbored hopes it could restore its prized staff bonus after beating its annual profit target of £100million. In a leaked memo, the company said profits were boosted by bumper Christmas sales at its Waitrose supermarkets and a major cost-cutting campaign (The mail). John Lewis is back to profitability as strong Christmas sales helped it recover from an unprecedented annual loss (The Telegraph).

Growing demand for vapes and heated tobacco helped bolster British American Tobacco’s revenue last year, as the company braces for a future with declining cigarette sales and a focus on new products (The Financial Times £). British American Tobacco is to carry out a share buyback of up to £2bn as cigarette maker Dunhill and Lucky Strike continues to generate large amounts of cash and after cutting losses from its e-cigarette business for the first time last year. (The time £)

Big Tobacco’s bets on smoking alternatives are starting to pay off. Britain’s British American Tobacco expects its non-combustible business to turn a profit by 2025, while at Marlboro maker Philip Morris International nearly a third of revenue comes from such products. But the reduced-risk business model relies on creating smokers first, then converting them. (The Financial Times £)

Potential bidders for Boots have had until the end of the month to submit first-round bids in a £7billion auction for the health and beauty chain. (The time £)

The private equity firm behind Burger King UK has added a third investment bank to its advisers as it moves forward with a £600m IPO. Bridgepoint reportedly hired Peel Hunt alongside Bank of America and Investec to advise it on an IPO in the first half of the year. (The time £)

For the wine industry, the alcohol tax change, announced in last fall’s budget and expected to take effect in February 2023, looks like a nightmare in the making, compounding the bureaucratic headaches that importers already know as a result of Brexit. (The Financial Times £)

The competition to run the lottery came to light last week with reports that incumbent Camelot had the highest score in an initial evaluation of four bidders. The Gambling Commission insisted it had not yet made a decision, but the leak led to criticism from the regulator, who is responsible for picking a winner. (The time £)

The cost of a home-prepared G&T is rising due to soaring prices for tonics at the supermarket. Store price data from research firm Assosia suggests that the price of blenders made by major tonic brands such as Schweppes and Fever-Tree rose sharply this month (The Guardian). The cost of a homemade G&T could become more expensive as the price of popular tonic waters skyrocket (Sky News).

The price of pasta, tinned tomatoes and strawberry jam jumped last year as the cost of supermarket staples rose, according to new figures from the BBC. Overall, the price of a basket full of 15 standard food items has risen by £1.32, or 8%, in just one year. (The BBC)

Jack Monroe praised Asda for reducing the cost of products in its Smartprice range – and making them more widely available (Sky News). Anti-poverty activist Jack Monroe returned to her local supermarket on Saturday for the first time since her tweets about rising grocery prices went viral to find her campaign had been a success (The Guardian).

The new generation of fast grocery delivery services such as Getir and Gorillas may be more convenient for consumers, but in the Netherlands they are increasingly seen as a blight on neighborhoods. Authorities around the country have started taking action against hundreds of so-called ‘dark shops’ – on-demand grocery distribution centers where workers go in and out on scooters, sparking complaints they are causing disruption and are a nuisance. (The time £)

Tate & Lyle hit the top of the FTSE250 after revising its earnings forecast. (The daily mail)

According to a recent study, spending in Britain’s smaller regional centers rebounded more strongly at the start of the year than in London and other major cities more dependent on office workers for street trading. (The Financial Times £)

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