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Weekly Roundup... 13 April 2021

By Donna Ahern
Weekly Roundup... 13 April 2021

A leading trade union representative has described the planned store reorganisation strategy at Dutch retailer Jumbo as "ridiculous", according to reports, suggesting that job or wage cuts are likely to be part of its plans. FNV director Mari Martens was commenting after Jumbo announced details of its planned new operating model, with which it said it is 'responding to current and future customer needs'. The retailer has pledged that 'no jobs will disappear' as part of the restructuring, however it said that a number of roles will change, while other positions will be discontinued, with existing staff on a permanent contract given priority when applying for a new position.

Britain's biggest sportswear retailer JD Sports on Tuesday forecast profit growth this year and announced plans to ramp up warehouse capacity to fulfill online orders and minimise disruptions from Brexit. The company, known for its sneakers and athleisure products, also said it would resume dividend payments after beating analysts' expectations for profit for the year ended 30 January 2021, reports Reuters. "The global COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the UK's formal exit from the European Union have presented a series of unprecedented challenges which have severely tested all aspects of our business," said Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill. JD Sports' online business performed well during the pandemic and the company has embarked on at least three big acquisitions in the United States and Europe in the past few months. More deals are expected to follow after the company raised 464 million pounds ($638.46 million) in equity in February.

Rainfall was above average last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions but more is still needed to sustain the growth of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers have said. Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in the rainy season, which runs from April to November.Farmers said more downpours this month would be crucial to avoid a decline in the harvest from July and to improve the quality of the beans, especially since temperatures have been high. Farmers also said sales were going better than during the October-to-March main crop, with buyers paying the guaranteed farmgate price of 750 CFA francs ($1.37) per kilogram.

World food prices rose for a 10th consecutive month in March, hitting their highest level since June 2014, led by jumps in vegetable oils, meat and dairy indices, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organization's food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 118.5 points last month versus a slightly revised 116.1 in February. The February figure was previously given as 116.0. The Rome-based FAO also said in a statement that worldwide cereal harvests remained on course to hit an annual record in 2020, adding that early indications pointed to a further increase in production this year. FAO's cereal price index fell 1.7% month on month in March, ending eight months of consecutive gains, but still 26.5% higher than the same period last month.

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