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The Business Matrix: Friday 19 April 2013

Cheap fares are a hit for Eurostar

Eurostar saw its busiest-ever 13-day sales period after slashing fares on 150,000 return trips from London to France and Belgium to £59. During the promotion, bookings beat a record set during the ash cloud disruption in 2010. But total passenger numbers between January and March were 2.23 million, down from 2.24 million a year earlier.

Japan's trade deficit soars

Japan's trade deficit hit a record high in the last financial year, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. The balance of trade deficit for 2011-12 came in at ¥8.17 trillion (£54.6bn), reflecting weak global trade markets and elevated fuel import costs. However, exports for the month of March were 1.1 per cent higher than in March 2012.

GKN hits target despite profit fall

The engineering group GKN, which makes drive shafts for almost half of all new cars, said it had met expectations for the first quarter after sales rose 9 per cent to £1.89bn. Profits were 1 per cent lower at £139m as a result of a £23m charge for restructuring sales growth of 4 per cent over the quarter.

Stagecoach wakes up to sleepers

Stagecoach is to launch a network of overnight sleeper coaches from Scotland to London this summer using 10 specially-designed vehicles that cost £500,000 each. Manufactured by Van Hool in Belgium, the coaches will operate under a new megabusgold.com brand.

'Help to Buy' boost for Persimmon

A fortnight after the launch of the "Help to Buy" scheme, the housebuilder Persimmon said it was seeing more interest from aspiring homeowners. The initiative saw visitors to Persimmon's website rise 30 per cent on the same time a year earlier.

Emerging markets a drag on Diageo

Diageo, the booze giant behind Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, saw its focus on emerging markets called into question yesterday. Performance in Latin America and the Caribbean moderated in the third quarter as consumer weakness in Brazil hit sales. Instead, it relied on its US spirits arm to claim quarterly sales growth of 4 per cent.

Legal & General chief is quids in

Tim Breeden, the former chief executive of Legal & General, saw his total pay, benefits and bonus quadruple to £9.4m last year, helped by the vesting of a deferred bonus scheme. Mr Breedon, 54, who retired from the insurer last year, was paid £4.3m including salary and bonuses. He is now a non-executive director at Barclays.

New regulations hit Jupiter's funds

Jupiter Fund Management blamed new rules governing sales of investments to retail clients for a slow start to the year. Net inflows in the first quarter amounted to only £209m, down from £490m in the previous three months but much better than the net outflow of £113m a year earlier.

Kingfisher makes splash in Romania

Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, has acquired Bricostore's 15 home-improvement stores in Romania from Group Bresson, a French retail company, for an undisclosed sum. The deal adds 2 per cent selling space to Kingfisher's estate, giving it 1,050 stores in nine countries.

Rexam's can sales fall a little flatter

The drinks can-maker Rexam said volume growth of 3 per cent was slightly lower than expected in the first quarter of the year but this was offset by foreign exchange translation benefits and cost savings. It hopes trade will rise in the summer.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment