Today’s news in brief-30/4/24

Shop price inflation in the UK eased to 0.8% in April, a decrease from 1.3% in March, according to the latest data from the BRC-Nielsen Index. This decline suggests a trend towards normalising inflation levels after reaching a peak last year. The drop was particularly notable in non-food items, which entered deflation at -0.6% in April, down from 0.2% in the previous month. This marks the lowest rate since October 2021 and is below the three-month average. In contrast, food inflation also decelerated, reaching 3.4% in April compared to 3.7% in March. Fresh food inflation further slowed to 2.4% from 2.6% in March, while ambient food inflation decreased to 4.9% from 5.2% in the prior month .

The Barclay family’s corporate empire faces significant changes as their Gulf-based backers are reportedly planning to auction off the Very Group. This move is part of a strategy to unwind a £1.2bn refinancing of the family’s debts. The Abu Dhabi investment firm, which previously sought to acquire the Barclays’ media assets, is now preparing to sell Very Group as the second stage of their plan to recover lending secured against the Barclays’ assets . RedBird IMI, the joint venture involving Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan and RedBird Capital, is overseeing this effort. It’s reported that the Barclays’ media group, The Telegraph, is also set for a separate sale.

Frasers Group has reached an agreement with the administrators of Matches Fashion to acquire certain intellectual property, though the exact terms of the transaction remain undisclosed. Frasers has granted a licence to the administrators to continue selling Matches’ stock under their management. This development follows Frasers’ acquisition of Matches Fashion from Apax Partners for £52m, which led to the company entering administration . The administrator’s report revealed that Matches Fashion owes approximately £36m to creditors, including luxury brands like Burberry, Gucci, and Prada.

Ocado faced shareholder opposition at its Annual General Meeting over a proposed pay scheme for CEO Tim Steiner. The scheme includes a bonus share award of £14.8m, contingent on Ocado’s share price reaching £29.69 and improving cash flow within three years. Steiner’s bonus would be worth 1,800% of his base salary, with advisory groups cautioning against excessive pay and awards above market norms given Ocado’s declining share price .


Card Factory reported a notable increase in adjusted pre-tax profit, rising by 25% to £65.6m for the financial year ending in 2024. This growth was driven by strong store performance, with store revenues increasing by 10.3% and like-for-like store revenues growing by 7.7%. CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer highlighted the company’s financial and operational progress, allowing for the reinstatement of dividends and continued investment for future growth .

Morrisons finalised the sale of 337 petrol forecourts and associated sites to Motor Fuel Group (MFG) for £2.5bn, marking a strategic partnership between the two companies. As part of the deal, Morrisons acquired a minority stake of approximately 20% in MFG. The transaction includes commercial and supply agreements, emphasising a long-term collaboration between the companies .

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