The Business Matrix: Monday 12 November 2012


John Lewis enjoys Christmas boost

Department store group John Lewis has made a strong start to the crucial Christmas trading period. Sales in the first full week of November were £85m, up 11.4 per cent on the same time last year. Although John Lewis is not listed, the news will cheer investors in major retailers after much bad news on the high street, such as Comet's collapse into administration.

Taxman claws back record £21bn

The Inland Revenue clawed back a record £21bn from tax evaders last year. The taxman netted 31 per cent more from compliance investigations into avoidance in the year to March 31, than the year before when it recouped £16bn, according to accountants UHY Hacker Young. Construction companies, London lawyers and online traders are among those targeted.

Bond to rescue Cineworld

The release last month of the James Bond film Skyfall has helped the sector to rebound after a tough year. With other potential blockbusters in the fourth quarter, including Breaking Dawn and The Hobbit, investors have high hopes for Cineworld's third-quarter trading update tomorrow.

Better outlook for Carphone

Carphone Warehouse reports half-year results on Wednesday. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch think the results should highlight a stronger outlook for Europe business and "the share price is likely to be supported by a potential change in Best Buy's ownership structure".

LSE's growth plans awaited

Last week the London Stock Exchange was given the go-ahead from regulators in France for its takeover of LCH.Clearnet. The LSE expects the deal will be "transformative for its business". On Friday investors will be hoping that the LSE outlines further plans for growth.

Questions over WS Atkins

On Thursday investors will want to see a recovery for the engineer WS Atkins in the second half of the year in the Middle East. They will also hope the US business has stabilised and will question whether growth momentum in the UK can continue. Numis analysts are "cautious given concerns about momentum".

Rising costs risk Thameslink deal

The future of the £1.4bn deal to provide trains for the Gatwick to Luton airport Thameslink route is in doubt as costs spiral due to funding delays. Siemens, which controversially won the contract ahead of Bombardier's Derby factory last year, has struggled to secure loans for the project. The delays are adding tens of millions of pounds to the deal.

Independent on Sunday

Investors pan Britvic tie-up

The proposed merger of the Robinsons squash maker Britvic and Irn-Bru owner AG Barr has been criticised by an influential shareholder. The deal would see Britvic shareholders owning 63 per cent of the combined group. David Herro of Harris Associates, Britvic's eighth biggest shareholder, said the share ratio hadn't been properly explained.

Sunday Times

Heathrow warns on new hub

Heathrow's owners will demand between £11bn and £18bn in compensation if the airport has to close due to another international hub being built elsewhere in the UK. British Airways would also seek recompense. A government commission is looking into several options to expand airport capacity in the South-east.

Mail on Sunday

Browne attacks City homophobia

The former boss of BP Lord Browne has questioned why there are no openly gay chief executives at the UK's biggest companies. The peer, who would not disclose his sexuality when he ran the oil giant, said such candidates "are self-selecting away from top jobs or they are not being selected for them".

Sunday Telegraph