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The Business Matrix: Friday 27 September 2013

H&M's record high thanks to Asia

Shares in the Swedish fashion retailer H&M surged to a record high yesterday, thanks to growth in Asia. Third-quarter operating profit was up 16 per cent at $900m (£561m). Sales in China were strong as 22 stores were opened in the past three months, sending revenues there up 37 per cent against a year earlier.

Moss Bross nuptial blues

Wedding suit rentals fell this summer because fewer couples were getting married, according to the chief executive of Moss Bros, Brian Brick. The 7.2 per cent rental fall left the company with flat pre-tax profits of £2.2m for the six months to the end of July, although like-for-like retail sales were up 1.7 per cent.

Severfield-Rowen gets new boss

The UK's biggest steelwork firm has hired Ian Lawson to revive its fortunes after racking up millions of pounds in losses on contracts, including the City's 'Cheesegrater' skyscraper. Severfield-Rowen sacked its last chief executive, Tom Haughey, in January after uncovering problems on nine contracts.

LSE reaps float benefits

A rise in the number of floats, more trading and increased investor sentiment proved a boon for the London Stock Exchange during the spring and summer.

The LSE said the amount of capital raised on its markets, which also include Borsa Italiana in Milan, more than doubled from £4bn to £9.3bn in the five months ending 31 August.

Homebase sales up 20 per cent

Homebase stores are set for a major makeover after a successful trial which offers customers free interior-design services and technology to help shoppers saw sales increase by 20 per cent. By the end of the year 15 stores will have undergone the £1m refits according to managing director Paul Loft.

Hungryhouse's big growth

Takeaway pizzas and curries are proving big business for online delivery site Hungryhouse.co.uk, with the business processing £300,000 worth of orders a day. The London-based online takeaway service, which merged with Delivery Hero last year, said it is in profit for the first time.

Travelex backs visa reform

Travelex boss Peter Jackson called for an overhaul of the visa system for Chinese visitors, warning that Britain is missing out on a huge opportunity. Underlying profit at the foreign exchange specialist for the six months to the end of June was £24m, up 20 per cent.

Clydesdale in £8.9m hit

Clydesdale was today hit with a £8.9m fine by the City watchdog over the way it treated customers who faced shortfalls in their mortgages following a miscalculation by the bank. It has agreed to compensate the customers involved as well as pay the fine.

Argos Christmas hiring spree

Argos is set to hire 10,000 extra workers to cope with the increased Christmas demand, including 363 staff in London. More than 37,000 seasonal jobs have been created this week with John Lewis and Amazon also announcing a hiring spree.

Stock Spirits to issue shares

Vodka-maker Stock Spirits plans to sell at least a quarter of its shares next month in a London listing which could value it at up to £700m as it looks to expand across eastern Europe. The British-based firm said it would raise £52m.

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