The Business Matrix: Friday 5 December 2014


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The Independent Online

Mulberry picks up after £1.1m loss

The maker of handbags endorsed by Cara Delevingne and Alexa Chung claimed it has turned a corner yesterday as sales picked up after a dire 18 months. Mulberry’s first-half results revealed a £1.1m loss, but for the nine weeks to the end of November total retail sales were up 8 per cent and online sales up 18 per cent.

Stocks fall after QE indecision

Markets fell yesterday as the European Central Bank said it was not decided on quantitative easing; sources said it would be on the agenda at January’s meeting of the governing council. Spain’s stock market fell by 2.4 per cent and Italy’s by 2.8 per cent. The council’s monthly statement showed splits on forward guidance.

AG Barr goes flat after contract loss

The fizz went out of sales at the maker of Irn-Bru after it lost its contract to make Orangina and competition in the soft drinks market intensified. AG Barr said sales in the 18 weeks to the end of November were down 0.6 per cent, but the drinks giant added that it remains on track to hit full-year sales targets.

Greece faces bailout extension

Eurozone ministers are considering extending Greece’s bailout by six months to mid-2015, according to a document seen by Reuters. Athens said it was only willing to consider an extension of a few weeks to the unpopular programme, which is due to finish this year, before presidential elections take place in February.

Pets at Home laps up 10% sales rise

Pets at Home reported a 10.2 per cent increase in half-yearly sales to £381.2m as its grooming and vets business generated a 27 per cent rise in revenues. Pre-tax profits at the retailer, which listed earlier this year, nearly doubled from £21.3m to £40.5m. Its shares slipped 0.9p to close at 201p.

Flotations buoy up Numis profits

Stock market flotations by companies including Brit Insurance and TSB helped profits at the broker Numis rise 8 per cent to £24.4m in the year to 30 September, on revenues of £92.9m. “We believe an appetite for high-quality initial public offerings will prevail,” said its chief executive, Oliver Hemsley.

Dreamliners give Tui Travel a boost

Tui Travel said its new fleet of Boeing 787s had lifted demand for its long-haul package breaks. The holiday giant, which has eight Dreamliners with another five due next year, said the fuel-efficient jets allowed it to put on non-stop flights to Mexico, Mauritius and Thailand.

City invests Atom with £25m nucleus

A group of the City’s highest-profile investors, including Neil Woodford and Jon Moulton, injected £25m today into a new digital banking venture.

Atom plans to launch next year and will join a string of challenger banks hoping to lure retail and business customers.

Infrastructure to get extra £3.5bn

Allianz and Aviva have set aside an extra £3.5bn to invest in UK infrastructure projects on the back of reforms announced by the Chancellor. The Government introduced a tax exemption on private placements.

Unilever to scoop out its spreads

Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry’s and Lynx, will spin out its spreads business into a separate company next year, as the division responsible for Flora margarine has been holding back growth at the consumer goods group.