The Business Matrix: Friday 8 November 2013


Cycling boom pumps Halfords

Bicycles-to-car parts chain Halfords' new chief executive Matt Davies explained that Britain's love affair with cycling has continued, with bike sales up 14.2 per cent in the six months to the end of September against a year earlier. Total sales rose 7.7 per cent to £490.6m and pre-tax profits were up 6.4 per cent from £41.9m to £44.6m.

US growth faster than expected

The US economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter, according to official data. The country's GDP expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 per cent, ahead of a 2.5 per cent rise in the three months before and higher than the 2 per cent expected on Wall Street. However consumer spending grew 1.5 per cent, the slowest pace since 2011.

Cazenove boost for Schroders

Fund manager Schroders' total net inflows hit £1.7bn in the last three months – including £700m into Cazenove Capital, which was taken over in June. Assets under management rose 37 per cent to a record £257m in the third quarter. That was faster than the 23 per cent in the first half, reflecting the inclusion of Cazenove for the first time.

ENRC ends LSE life on a low note

ENRC's six-year roller-coaster ride on the London Stock Exchange will end on a low after the Kazakhstan-based miner announced marginally reduced revenue. The iron ore-to-copper group will be taken private by its three billionaire founders on 25 November. At the half-year, pre-tax profit was down 55.6 per cent to $309m (£192.2m).

Banks 'too slow' settling claims

High Street banks are settling mis-selling claims from small businesses "slower than expected" and need to "speed up the process", the Financial Conduct Authority said. Banks set aside £3bn for firms that were mis-sold interest rate hedges they did not need or understand, but have paid out just £15.3m.

Morrisons sales continue to slide

Morrisons, the UK's fourth biggest supermarket, saw sales fall for the seventh consecutive quarter and slightly below expectations, down 2.3 per cent. The food chain will ramp up convenience store openings, with an extra 100 expected in 2014, doubling the 100 due to open by the end of this year.

Cable & Wireless revenues tumble

Cable & Wireless Communications, issuing its last report before moving headquarters to Miami under new boss Phil Bentley, the former British Gas chief executive, saw revenues fall 3 per cent to $935m (£584m) in the last six months. But it said cost-cutting was going to plan.

BA's Broughton in switch to IAG

British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton is leaving as part of corporate governance changes at the airline. He will continue as deputy chairman of parent company IAG while BA chief executive Keith Williams will take on the additional role of chairman at the carrier.

New shops give SuperGroup a lift

SuperGroup, owner of fashion brand Superdry, saw sales in the 13 weeks to November rise 18.5 per cent to £116.6m, after three new shops opened. In Germany, its most successful market outside of the UK, SuperGroup bought seven stores.

Vodafone escapes Ofcom 3G penalty

Vodafone avoided a fine by regulator Ofcom despite being alone among the big four mobile companies in failing to bring 3G coverage to 90 per cent of the population by June. Ofcom said Vodafone had fallen 1.4 per cent short of the target.