TESCO has warned that securing uninterrupted supplies of fresh food in the event of a no-deal Brexit is the biggest challenge facing UK supermarkets.
Chief executive Dave Lewis said the chain is making contingency plans for a no-deal scenario with stockpiling some goods such as dry food a possibility. But he added: ‘The biggest single challenge will be in a no-deal scenario and what happens with fresh food. The possibility of stockpiling fresh food is very, very limited.’
He said plans to ensure fresh food transport is not held up is ‘where all our attention will be in the lead-up’ to Brexit, with contingency planning stepping up after Christmas if a deal is still not struck.
His comments come after German discounter Aldi said on Monday it had considered stockpiling food as part of its preparations. Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said in July the government is making plans to secure food supplies in the event of no deal being struck but stressed industry would need to take the lead.
Last week research by Barclays Corporate Banking revealed that no deal could cost retailers £9.3billion in extra tariffs and customs charges, with shoppers bearing some of the burden.
Tesco shares fell by eight per cent yesterday as a 24.4 per cent surge in group half-year earnings to £933million fell short of market expectations. Its last three months’ sales rose 4.2 per cent, the 11th successive quarterly rise and the first time in ten years they have risen over four per cent. Mr Lewis hailed it as a ‘good start’ to the year.
Aston Martin shares stall on first day of trading
SHARES in Aston Martin hit a speed bump on their first day of trading, falling by four per cent. The luxury carmaker, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange yesterday at £19 a share, failed to impress investors as much as predicted and closed at £18.25. Before trading began, boss Andy Palmer said that the listing was a ‘historic milestone’ for the firm.
Biofuel turns flight into a booze cruise
THE world’s first commercial flight using a new biofuel made from alcohol landed in London yesterday.
The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 travelling from Orlando, US, was greeted at Gatwick by airline founder Sir Richard Branson. It was powered by a blend of conventional jet fuel and propellant made from industrial waste gases converted into ethanol.
Manufacturer LanzaTech says it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65 per cent and has the potential to meet around a fifth of the world’s demand for aviation fuel.
‘Working with LanzaTech will enable us to drastically reduce our carbon emissions,’ said Sir Richard.
■ THE government says it will tackle late payments by large companies to small businesses to help boost economic growth. It will promote accounting technologies for small firms and study how large concerns track payments. One in four small traders says late payments threaten their survival.
■ MOBILE phone-based bank N26 has entered the UK market. The German lender is to set up accounts for friends and family of staff, and 50,000 people on a waiting list, before a full launch next month. Only two of its 500 staff will work here, splitting their time between London and Berlin. It is the latest challenge to UK banks after US-based Goldman Sachs launched its Marcus savings account last month.
■ UNILEVER is facing further opposition to its move from London to Rotterdam. Royal London Asset Management joined shareholders speaking out against the firm’s plan to drop its dual listing and relocate its headquarters to the Netherlands. The group owns 0.72 per cent of Unilever, worth around £360million.