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The Business Matrix: Friday 28 December 2012

Waitrose serves up tasty Christmas

Heston Blumethal specials like his figgy pudding and chocolate cake helped Waitrose to its best Christmas period ever, the John Lewis-owned supermarket chain revealed yesterday. Sales from early November to Christmas Eve were up 7.7 per cent on a year ago, while 23 December was its busiest Sunday ever. Waitrose also saw a 37 per cent surge in online sales as it competed with Ocado.

Profits chase the slowdown away

Industrial profits in China surged for the second month in a row, providing further evidence that the economic giant is recovering from a prolonged slowdown.

Profits at China's major industrial companies jumped by 22.8 per cent to 638.5bn yuan (£63.1bn) in November, compared to a year earlier, having posted a 20.5 per cent rise the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Apple chief takes a smaller bite

Tim Cook, the boss of US tech nology giant Apple, has seen his pay package shrink by around 99 per cent. Mr Cook, who took over from Steve Jobs in 2011, was awarded total compensation of $4.17m, (£2.58m) in 2012. That is down from $378m in 2011, which included $376.2m in stock awards that vest over many years. His 2012 package includes a salary of $1.4m and a non-equity bonus of $2.8m.

Randgold gets its fingers burnt

Shares in Randgold Resources fell 30p to 6,090p yesterday in the wake of a fire at its Ivory Coast gold mine which prompted the company to downgrade its production expectations. Randgold now expects to produce 208,000 ounces from the Tongon mine in 2012, down from the 270,000 ounces it had hoped. Kate Craig, analyst at Liberum Capital, said the "fire at Tongon comes at the end of a challenging year".

Adidas sales exceed forecasts

The boss of Adidas said he expects the German sportswear group's sales for 2012 to be greater than the €14.5bn it had already forecast. Chief executive Herbert Hainer also told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Adidas would launch a new running shoe that would "revolutionise the market".

US job market continues to heal

Data released yesterday showed that the number of new claimants for unemployment benefits in the United States dropped last week to nearly its lowest level in more than four years. Applications fell by 12,000 to a seasonally-adjusted figure of 350,000, against expectations of a decline to 360,000, officials said.

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