Chase potato vodka signs Sainsbury’s deal

UK winner of ‘world’s best vodka’ title to be sold in 280 stores for £32 a bottle

Devotees of Chase Vodka – the only English potato vodka – will be able to buy their tipple from hundreds of supermarket outlets as a result of a tie-up with Sainsbury’s.

Chase Vodka was named last March as the “World’s Best Vodka” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating 249 rivals from around the world. Now it is to go on sale in 280 Sainsbury’s stores later this month.

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Sainsbury’s excessive packaging case dropped

Trading standards officers in Lincolnshire dropped a landmark legal case against Sainsbury’s over unneccessary packaging

Trading standards officers in Lincolnshire today dramatically dropped a landmark legal case against supermarket giant Sainsbury’s over excessive and unneccessary packaging, claiming it was “no longer in the public interest”.

In what was believed to be the first prosecution against a major retailer for failing to stay within acceptable levels of packaging, Lincolnshire council’s trading standards claimed “excessive” wrapping around a fresh joint of beef was damaging to the environment.

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Tesco wins court battle over Dobbies garden chain

A Scottish financier is to ask Tesco to buy out his stake in the Dobbies garden centre chain, after a judge rejected his attempts to block a refinancing deal for the firm.

Sir Tom Hunter had accused Tesco in court this week of trying to force him to give up his 29.5% shareholding in Dobbies and wrest control of the company by pressing for an unnecessary rights issue worth £150m.

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Cheap – but not so cheerful? Helen Pidd investigates UK’s ‘worst’ supermarket

With more than 400 stores in the UK – and plans to open another 40 this year – Lidl is becoming the supermarket of choice for foodies in search of a bargain, as well as families on a tight budget. Yet while Tesco comes under fire for its aggressive expansion, no one seems to care what Lidl does – even if some staff suffer in the rush for profits. Helen Pidd investigates

On Wilmslow Road in Manchester, just before the first neon sign announces the start of the city’s “curry mile”, two supermarkets sit side by side. On the left is a Tesco Express that offers, according to its red, blue and white facade, “quality and value at your convenience”. On the right is a red, blue and yellow Lidl, “WHERE QUALITY IS CHEAPER!”

Though the Lidl is around twice the size of its neighbour, both stores sell many similar foods, from simple, sliced-white loaves to fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella. On a drizzly Saturday afternoon both shops are equally bustling. But that’s where the similarities end. Tesco is British, Lidl is German. There are shopping baskets and neatly stacked shelves in Tesco; only pay-for trolleys and piled-high pallets in Lidl. The former is giving loyalty-card points; the latter is charging 3p per carrier bag. And only in Lidl can you buy a stepladder or a laminator alongside such exotically labelled delicacies as tinned squid in an “American-style” sauce and “premium bockwursts” in a jar.

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Series of Tesco Trojan horse planning cases revealed

· Supermarket firm escaped scrutiny in two cases
· Residents and local traders were caught unawares

Tesco has repeatedly used controversial Trojan horse tactics, exposed in the Guardian yesterday, to win local planning consent without awakening potential opposition from local stores and residents.

Tactics used by the supermarket group, which owns a vast property landbank – under examination by the Competition Commission – have enabled two sites in the north London boroughs of Barnet and Harrow to seek planning approvals for full retail use before the councils were aware that Tesco had an interest in either site. In both cases, the sites had previously been, at least in part, car workshops, and therefore required planning approval before a retailer could move in and start trading.

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Days of anger, shouting, abuse and threats

Philip Green revels in his reputation as an operator and a high-living hardman with a razor wit and a hot temper. At Bhs he is said to have made the fastest £1bn in business history.

Three weeks ago, with Mr Green working on plans to slap in a huge bid for Safeway, Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket chain, which can lay claim to 10% of the grocery market and 92,000 staff, the Guardian asked journalist Ian Griffiths to take a look at Mr Green’s published accounts. Mr Griffiths is a former City editor of two newspapers and a qualified auditor. His brief was to look at information filed at Companies House and ascertain whether the Bhs business is worth £1bn.

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Philip Green: days of anger, shouting, abuse and threats

Philip Green revels in his reputation as an operator and a high-living hardman with a razor wit and a hot temper. At Bhs he is said to have made the fastest £1bn in business history.

Three weeks ago, with Mr Green working on plans to slap in a huge bid for Safeway, Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket chain, which can lay claim to 10% of the grocery market and 92,000 staff, the Guardian asked journalist Ian Griffiths to take a look at Mr Green’s published accounts. Mr Griffiths is a former City editor of two newspapers and a qualified auditor. His brief was to look at information filed at Companies House and ascertain whether the Bhs business is worth £1bn.

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