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The Business Matrix: Friday 12 April 2013

Jobless levels hit a record high

Greek unemployment hit a record 27.2 per cent in January, up from 25.7 per cent in December and 21.5 per cent a year ago. The young are by far the worst hit, with unemployment in the 15-24 age group at 59.3 per cent in January. Greece is in its sixth year of recession and is reliant on international rescue loans. Strict spending cuts are in place.

Lagerfeld to open first UK store

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, known for his eccentric style, is close to agreeing a deal to open his first store in the UK. Lagerfeld, who designs for Chanel, has his own brand which made its debut in Paris  in February. It plans to open an outpost on South Molton Street in central London, in a store currently let to Kurt Geiger.

Year-end boom for Charles Stanley

Private client stockbroker and investment manager Charles Stanley enoyed a roaring end to its financial year as its clients piled into shares. Total funds under management rose by 15.3 per cent to a new record of £17.7bn and there was a  27 per cent rise in discretionary funds under management to £6.4bn.

New funds boost for Ashmore

Emerging markets fund manager Ashmore has given the lie to the idea that investors have been switching out of bonds. Ashmore’s much better-than-expected $6.7bn rise in assets to $77.7bn in the past three months is more than accounted for by inflow of $7.3bn of new funds.

Norcros posts 5% revenue growth

Norcros, which sells showers, taps, tiles and adhesives, said its UK businesses performed well in the year to March, with revenues growth of 5 per cent.

Their Triton shower’s sales were 4.5 per cent lower but gained market share.

Hays warns of ‘fragile’ conditions

Hays, the white-collar recruiter, said yesterday that its annual profit would come in at the top end of City expectations. But Alistair Cox, the chief executive of the jobs giant that employs almost 8,000 staff of its own, warned: “We expect conditions to remain fragile.” Hays’ net fees slipped by 3 per cent in the three months to April.

Unemployment claims fall

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, which eased fears of a worsening jobs market after a surprise stumble in job growth in March. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 42,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 346,000, unwinding a jump in the prior week.

Google launches Map Maker tool

Google is launching its Map Maker tool in the UK, allowing people to add information to Google Maps. Jessica Pfund, Map Maker manager, said: “People can edit and update anything from historic buildings and streets to agricultural land. We encourage everyone to get involved.”

Healthy sales at PZ Cussons

PZ Cussons said its core UK brands of Imperial Leather, Carex and Original Source  have performed well despite  intense promotional activity and challenging consumer  conditions. Sales of new product Cussons Mum & Me have been encouraging.

Early Christmas cheer at Park

The gift-voucher and prepaid-gift-card provider Park said orders for Christmas in the UK remain steady and at a similar level to last year. Its Flexecash prepaid card has now processed more than £155m since its launch in 2010.

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