The Business Matrix: Friday 20 July 2012


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Britvic sales are hit by recall

A wet-weather sales plunge for beleaguered Britvic piled on the pain today as the soft drinks firm reels under a £25m bill to recall childrens' drink Fruit Shoot. The record rainfall in April and June washed out sales of fizzy and soft drinks which, along with the recall, wiped 7.6 per cent off group revenues in the third quarter.

Jubilee sales wash out

The Jubilee celebrations were a damp squib for retailers as high street sales fell well short of hopes despite desperate price slashing, according to official figures. Sales grew a meagre 0.1 per cent in June, well below City expectations, as record downpours kept shoppers away, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Boss steps down at ailing Avocet

Three weeks after a hefty production downgrade sent Avocet Mining's shares tumbling, chief executive Brett Richards is stepping down – in a move the company insists is unrelated. Shares are trading well below half their level on 29 June, when the company cut its 2012 gold output target from 160,000 ounces to 135,000 to 140,000.

Revenues rising at leaderless M&B

Pubs owner Mitchells and Butlers hasn't had a chief executive for months, but that hasn't hindered sales. In the 42 weeks so far, revenues at its pub restaurants, which include Harvester and the Toby Carvery, are up 1.9 per cent. They are up 0.4 per cent in the last 14 weeks.

Pay rebellion rocks Nationwide

Nationwide building society suffered a rebellion over pay after 14 per cent of members refused to back its remuneration report at its annual meeting. The chief executive Graham Beale's £2.3m package has been criticised, while all five executives made at least £1m.

Buy-to-let boost for Paragon

Paragon said loans to landlords have jumped 40 per cent in the past year, suggesting that the buy-to-let market is booming. It advanced £136m in buy-to-let loans in the nine months to June and has another £121m in the pipeline.

Nokia still ringing up the losses

Nokia reported heavy second-quarter losses as it continued surrendering market share to rivals. However, the shares jumped 11 per cent as investors were relieved to see the cash position was not as dismal as many had feared. Nokia made losses of €1.41bn (£1.1bn) in the quarter, with turnover crashing 19 per cent to €7.54 billion.

Mothercare's UK sales dive

Mothercare has posted another set of dire domestic trading figures as it pushes ahead with its store closures programme in Britain. The baby product retailer's UK underlying sales tumbled by 6.7 per cent over the 15 weeks to 14 July. But overseas revenues jumped 11 per cent, driven by its expansion.

Wet weather gives B&Q a lift

B&Q slashed prices on paint and wallpaper to encourage homeowners to make the best of the wet weather by decorating, owner Kingfisher said. The UK's biggest DIY chain – facing record rainfall in April and June – saw paint sales jump above 20 per cent and wallpaper sales up nearly 10 per cent.

Clintons to shut down 76 stores

The last remaining 76 stores in the Clinton Cards estate not part of its sale to American Greetings are to close by 31 July, administrator Zolfo Cooper said. Deteriorating market conditions meant there was no interest in the stores.