Morrisons CEO Dalton Phillips

Morrisons CEO Dalton Phillips

Tesco grabbed the headlines last week after signing an agreement with Yucaipa for its US stores, bringing an end to its failed venture across the Atlantic. Amongst other retailers, Morrisons insisted the "space race" among major UK grocers was "well and truly over" as it released its latest sales and earnings figures. Elsewhere, just-food spoke with Boulder Brands CEO Stephen Hughes about its buoyant gluten-free business. Here is a selection of quotes from last week's news and insight.

"Where there is a compelling case to build a new large store, we will take that opportunity [but] the future for us and the sector is no longer in building more and more big supermarkets" - Morrisons chief Dalton Philips reconfirms it will not build new stores on over 100 sites it owned and once intended to develop.

"The decision we are announcing today represents the best outcome for Tesco shareholders and Fresh & Easy's stakeholders. It offers us an orderly and efficient exit from the US market, while protecting the jobs of more than 4,000 colleagues at Fresh & Easy" - Tesco CEO Philip Clarke on the sale of its US Fresh & Easy banner to business to investment fund Yucaipa.

"I could be wrong but I think there is so much untapped potential that we are going to be better served having higher-quality products better supported than the current competitive set, which is fragmented and under-capitalised" - Boulder Brands CEO Stephen Hughes suggests the increased attention from the major corporates is not a concern.

"Lindt surely needs to make a significant acquisition. In spite of carrying a major warchest for several years, it failed to acquire the last major luxury chocolate brand that came onto the market - Godiva in 2008" - Stefan Kirk of M&A advisors Glenboden suggests Lindt could dust off its chequebook to boost growth.

"I certainly believe we're on track to create a very viable and sustainable estate long term but we still have more work to do, particularly in reshaping our estate with further store closures in the year ahead" - Thorntons CEO Jonathan Hart believes it can create a "viable" and "sustainable" store estate despite sales from the outlets declining for the fifth straight financial year.

"We need to restore full market access to those markets where restrictions have been put in place, re-establish confidence in the robustness of our food safety system, and reaffirm the positive image of New Zealand brands" - New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy detail a joint plan that will see the government working to "reassert New Zealand's reputation" following the high-profile Fonterra recall. 

"The limited use of agency labour to cover seasonal and operational peaks, short term holiday leave and sickness absence is an integral part of our operational flexibility that is understood and accepted by all our other sites" - Premier Foods plc responds to the launch of a second wave of strike action in protest over the use of agency labour.

"Whitworths stands out as the market leader in dried fruit, nut and seed products, a category with attractive dynamics" - Joyce Church, of Equistone Partners Europe, on the firm's acquisition of a majority stake in Whitworths, the UK's largest supplier of dried fruit, nut and seed products.

"Raw milk supply growth in China has been around two per cent over the past three years but demand is growing at around six to eight per cent. So there are significant opportunities for Fonterra to help bridge this supply gap by growing our own domestic milk supply in China and continuing to import our high quality finished dairy products" - president of Fonterra's operations Greater China and India, Kelvin Wickham, explains the benefits of opening asecond large-scale "farm hub" in the China.