The debate over retailer expansion in the UK swung back into the spotlight this week with the country’s regulator standing firm on a planning test – much to the chagrin of Tesco. Rumours on Wal-Mart’s intentions over Russia resurfaced as the world’s largest retailer was linked with local grocer Kopeyka. In France, Carrefour claimed to be “encouraged” despite its quarterly sales falling year-on-year; while ailing milk group Entremont Alliance attracted a joint bid from peers Sodiaal and Bongrain.

These are the top stories on just-food this week.

UPDATE: UK: Regulator brushes off competition test flak
The UK’s competition watchdog has defended its proposal for a planning test for the country’s supermarkets despite fierce criticism from Tesco and questions from some industry watchers.

(After the watchdog’s announcement, just-food asked just how competitive UK food retail is… Click here for more)

RUSSIA: Kopeyka silent on Wal-Mart bid talk
Kopeyka has remained silent on reports that US retail giant Wal-Mart has launched a takeover bid for the Russian discount supermarket group’s chain of 528 stores.

RUSSIA: Moscow looks to regulate Russian food retail
The Russian government has taken steps to increase the regulation overseeing relations between suppliers and retailers down the food chain in the country.

FRANCE: Carrefour chief “encouraged” despite Q2 sales dip
Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson said yesterday (16 July) that the French retail giant’s moves to revitalise the company were yielding “encouraging results” despite a 1.2% fall in second-quarter sales.

FRANCE: Entremont confirms bid from Sodiaal, Bongrain
Embattled cheese maker Entremont Alliance has received a joint takeover bid from Sodiaal and Bongrain, a spokesperson told for the group just-food today (13 July).

UPDATE: UK: LGA should stop “carping” over packaging – BRC
The Local Government Association (LGA) should stop “carping” and start “collaborating” on reducing the amount of supermarket packaging going to landfill, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) told just-food today (13 July).

UK: Plastic bag use nearly halved
The UK’s largest supermarkets have almost halved the number of single-use plastic bags they hand out, the latest figures from the Government-backed Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) claimed today (17 July).

Contrasting responses to US private-label growth
The recession has fuelled further growth in the already developing private-label sector of the US food market. But while the trend has helped to bolster the fortunes of supermarket chains, Ben Cooper writes, it has given branded food companies cause for concern.

US: Nestle launches cranberry Raisinets
Nestle has added to its line of Raisinets snack products in the US, the Swiss food giant has revealed.

COMMENT: White House food safety move lacks substance
While any move to improve US food safety will likely be welcomed by consumers and the industry alike, Katy Humphries suggests that last week’s announcement from The White House does not go far enough to tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the sector.