News

Flybe boss Jim French, credited with turning the regional carrier into a major player in the European aviation market, is stepping down as chairman after more than 20 years with the company.

Safeway reported for `immoral' fee

THE NATIONAL Farmers' Union is reporting the Safeway supermarket chain to the Competition Commission over its plans to charge suppliers for in-store promotions.

Food & Drink: Size does matter, and big is best

The decision to buy a magnum-size bottle of champagne has more to do with taste than ostentation, says Anthony Rose

US stores target weakest UK chains

THE HIGH STREET has been a tough place to be this past week.

Outlook: New broom gives Safeway hope once more

COULD THERE be light at the end of the tunnel for Safeway after all? Admittedly, the situation continues to look dire. The shares have been heading steadily south for two years now. As number four in the market, with the Wal-Mart backed Asda and the mighty Tesco battling it out at the top for price advantage, and the threat of Internet shopping closing fast, things could hardly seem worse.

Organic Foods: USEFUL CONTACTS

INFORMATION ON vegetable box schemes, farmers' markets, local food links and organic suppliers can be obtained from the Soil Association's directory, which costs pounds 5. Membership of the association costs pounds 18. In a special promotion for Independent readers, they will receive a free directory if they join.

Wines Of The Week

WHITE

Somerfield profits warning as Kwik Save sales fall 12%

SOMERFIELD, Britain's fifth largest supermarket group, delivered further bad news to investors yesterday when it issued a profits warning due to falling sales at the Kwik Save stores it acquired last year.

Outlook: Somerfield again

OH, THE agony of it for Somerfield chief executive David Simons. A year ago when the market was starting to believe the hype about the synergy benefits to be had out of the merger with Kwik Save, Somerfield shares were soaring and the company even stood on the brink of inclusion in the FTSE 100. With millions riding on share options, Mr Simons was sporting a self-satisfied grin. It said: "I told you so."

Drink: Do you really have the time to pause, down chopsticks and meditatively sample your wine?

I CALL it the Night of the Long Chopsticks. On the Saturday evening in question, when there was no one else in the house to object or suffer, I turned the kitchen into a food-and-wine matching laboratory. First step: make loads of noodles similar to those that Terry Durack proposes. OK, they were not identical to Terry's. This was a Saturday night, after all, and professional dedication could only take me so far. But the ingredients were there, and so was the crucial aspect of noodleness: soothing, slithering slurpability. On the food front, this was an entirely successful experience.

Safeway threat to bankrupt Alnwick

THE MEDIEVAL town of Alnwick threw down the gauntlet to John Prescott yesterday, demanding he bail it out of a multi-million-pound planning fiasco. The supermarket group Safeway is demanding more than pounds 4.6m compensation from Aln-wick after the Secretary of State overturned its permission for an out-of-town store.

Safeway rebuffs approach by `desperate' Somerfield

SOMERFIELD HAS approached Safeway regarding a pounds 4bn merger as it seeks new ways to compete in Britain's increasingly cut-throat supermarket sector.

Boots is Safeway price war target

SAFEWAY has raised the pressure on Boots with a price campaign on health and beauty products. The move comes as Boots braces itself for a battle with Asda on health and beauty ranges now that Asda is owned by US giant Wal-Mart.

Focus: The phoney price war

Last week supermarkets claimed that bills were tumbling. But we are still paying too much for our food

Tesco's price strategy widens market lead over Sainsbury's

CITY ANALYSTS yesterday predicted that the market share gap between Tesco and Sainsbury's will continue to grow.

Safeway recruits former Wal-Mart chief

SAFEWAY, the struggling supermarket operator, has appointed a former Wal-Mart executive as chief operating officer in a move which could seem him groomed as Colin Smith's successor as chief executive.
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