Associated British Foods grabbed the headlines this week – for good and tragic reasons. Twenty-four hours before a factory in Bangladesh that supplied ABF’s discount clothing chain Primark collapsed, just-food discussed the Kingsmill bread owner’s half-year results. Another UK-listed major, Unilever, this week reported its Q1 sales, which missed analyst estimates on weaker spreads and ice cream sales. Elsewhere, we analysed the return of GM to national UK headlines and China’s attempts to improve food safety.
The just-food interview – Associated British Foods CEO George Weston
Primark again grabbed the headlines for Associated British Foods as it booked higher profits and sales – and saw its shares hit a record high. But what about ABF’s grocery business? Dean Best spoke with CEO George Weston about its performance and prospects.
What the analysts say – Unilever Q1 misses analyst estimates
Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever saw its share price fall as weakness in its spreads division held back an otherwise “solid” first-quarter performance. The underlying sales increase came in below analyst forecasts who gave a relatively mixed view of the results.
UK: Ocado dismisses Morrisons takeover rumours
UK online specialist Ocado has dismissed reports it is in discussions with Morrisons over a potential sale to the country’s fourth-largest supermarket chain.
Comment: Is austerity Premier too focused on cost?
Premier Foods plc’s new austere message has encapsulated the mood of the time. Gone are the days of frivolity – the UK firm is knuckling down and reducing complexity across the board. It should be good news for shareholders, shouldn’t it? Well, cutting costs may lead to higher margins – but the detail Premier has given on how it plans to invest behind its brands has been scant to say the least.
BRICs and beyond: China looks to tighten food safety regulation
The elevation of China’s State Food & Drug Administration (SFDA) to a ministry level entity will consolidate the oversight of food safety issues under one umbrella. The Chinese authorities are hoping that the move will convince consumers that the government is serious about tackling the country’s food safety problems. Nevertheless, a number of challenges remain. David Green reports from Beijing.
THAILAND: CP All to acquire Siam Makro chain
Thailand’s largest convenience store chain CP All has made a bid for cash-and-carry retailer Siam Makro.
Consuming issues – GM debate comes down to question of trust
The GM debate has re-emerged in the UK in the last couple of weeks with the news four major supermarket operators will allow their suppliers to use GM feed for poultry and eggs. It is as polarising an issue as ever but, as Ben Cooper writes, a new mature approach is to the debate is needed.
SINGAPORE: Petra hits out at Nestle Kit Kat lawsuit
Chocolate and cocoa group Petra Foods has defended its Delfi Take-It chocolate bar after Swiss food giant Nestle filed a trademark lawsuit against the firm in Singapore.
In the spotlight: Carrefour ups heat with price cuts
Competition in the French retail scene could be about to heat up, with market leader Carrefour reporting an improvement in its domestic operations. Carrefour says it has been encouraged by the results of its pricing initiative and, if the world’s second largest retailer really has pulled its socks up at home, life could become tougher for its competitors. Michelle Russell reports.
On the money: Fresh, loyalty help Metro manage trading conditions
Canadian retailer Metro Inc has said its fresh food and customer loyalty schemes are helping it trade in a “highly competitive” sector.