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The Business Matrix: Friday 14 December 2012

US retail sales up 0.3% after storm

Americans shook off Superstorm Sandy and stepped up their shopping last month, helped by a steady jobs market and lower petrol prices. Retail sales rose 0.3 per cent between October and November, as people spent more online, bought more electronics and began to replace cars and rebuild after the storm, official figures showed.

Pennant-Rea leaves Henderson

Rupert Pennant-Rea is stepping down as chairman of the fund manager Henderson, which is shifting its tax base back to the UK. The City grandee, who will become chairman of the mutual insurer Royal London, holds an array of directorships with companies including the transport group Go-Ahead. He is a former editor of The Economist.

CBI predicts flat start to 2013

Britain's manufacturers are braced for a flat start to 2013, the CBI has warned. It said firms reported a slight rebound in export orders, but remain hesitant amid a dismal global outlook. The CBI's head of economic analysis, Anna Leach, said: "Conditions in the sector are likely to remain fragile until global conditions improve."

Saatchi & Saatchi take Outside Line

The co-founders of digital and social-media agency Outside Line cashed in yesterday by selling to the advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi for an estimated £8m. Ant Cauchi and Lloyd Salmons own a majority of Outside Line, which had revenues of £3.7m last year. Clients include British Gas, Lurpak and Virgin Galactic.

Record revenue at accountant KPMG

KPMG unveiled record revenues of $23bn (£14.3bn) yesterday. However, it said growth slowed in the second half of the year to 2.1 per cent, against 6.4 per cent for the first six months. Regulators are investigating whether reform is necessary to loosen the "big four" accountants' grip on the auditing market.

Nottingham and Shepshed link up

The Nottingham and Shepshed building societies are to merge in July. The Shepshed will add three branches to the 31 held by the Nottingham and will take the larger society's name. These three branches are stay open for at least three years and there are no compulsory job losses planned owing to the merger.

BAE wins US Navy aircraft contract

The US unit of BAE Systems has won a contract valued at up to $400m over the next five years to maintain and service more than 300 US Navy trainer aircraft. The contract covers inspections, repairs and logistical support for the T-34, T-44 and T-6 trainer aircraft.

UBS in line for $1bn Libor fine

Regulators are set to ramp up action against banks accused of manipulating the benchmark Libor interest rate by slapping an expected $1bn fine on UBS. The Swiss bank is likely to be hit with what would be the biggest penalty in the international probe as early as next week.

Ryanair suffers legal setback

The Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by Ryanair to block regulators investigating the budget carrier's minority shareholding in Aer Lingus. Ireland's Ryanair argued that it was not within the UK Competition Commission's jurisdiction.

Topshop will trade in China

Topshop, part of the Arcadia conglomerate owned by Sir Philip Green, will open its first store in China in May next year. The high-street retailer will open in Hong Kong in partnership with the department store chain Lane Crawford.

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