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The Business Matrix: Monday 13 January 2014


Asos expands into Russia and China

Online fashion site Asos is set to report another “strong performance” tomorrow with new sites in Russia and China expected to be performing well. Peel’s analysts forecast annual retail sales growth of 37.9 per cent as Asos (“As Seen On Screen”) leaves bricks-and-mortar rivals behind.

Burberry sales expected to fall

Wednesday sees British luxury brand Burberry unveil third-quarter sales as the firm prepares to lose its chief executive Angela Ahrendts. Experts at Nomura say the firm reported a strong first half with comparable sales up 13 per cent, so they predict a slowdown to 7.1 per cent growth.

Primark to post Christmas boost

Associated British Foods’ budget brand Primark will deliver more strong sales on Thursday with plus-size clothing group N Brown also set to impress the City. Oriel Securities says: “As nearly all the clothiers to report so far have enjoyed Christmas online we see no reason why N Brown should be any different.”

William Hill on winning streak

Friday sees bookmaker William Hill report on recent trading with football results turning far more in the bookie’s favour than earlier in the season. The City will, however, be keen to hear the firm’s views on a potential crackdown on lucrative gaming machines, currently the subject of an independent review.

What the Sunday papers said

Bingo tax blamed on clubs closing

Industry leaders have blamed the “unfair bingo tax” for a decline in bingo clubs from close to 600 in 2005 to fewer than 400 today. The Bingo Association has called on the Government to cut the tax on bingo profits from 20 per cent to 15 per cent. Visits to bingo halls have fallen by almost half to 43 million since 2005.

Independent on Sunday

RBS courts row with bonus plans

Taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is on course for a political row by asking shareholders to approve plans to pay its top bankers more than twice their annual salary in bonuses for 2014. New EU rules cap bonuses at 200 per cent of salaries but the limit can be raised with approval from shareholders.

Mail on Sunday

Morrisons to give investors payout

Struggling supermarket Morrisons plans to appease shareholders after its shock profit warning last week with an £800m property sell-off to return cash to investors. The sale of part of its freehold store portfolio comes as the grocer steps up its push into convenience stores and online deliveries.

Sunday Times

Beard trend hits shaving products

Will King, the entreprenuer behind the King of Shaves business, blames “celebrity beards” sported by the likes of Jeremy Paxman and George Clooney for hitting men’s toiletries sales. “Sales across the shaving industry were down in the US and the UK last year for the first time due to guys not shaving,” he said.

Sunday Telegraph

UK firms’ hiring levels soaring

Hiring intentions among the UK’s businesses are at their highest level for two-and-a-half years as the economy recovers, according to accountant BDO. Its employment index rose to 99.4 in December, well above the 95 mark, which signals positive jobs growth. The improvement comes as business confidence also hits a seven-year high.

Post Office beefs up lending arm

The Post Office is to extend its presence in the current account market with the rollout of services to another 81 branches. The pilot scheme, which so far has been available at 29 branches in East Anglia, includes an account aimed at low-income customers struggling to access mainstream banking. The Post Office is seeking to beef up its presence as a high street lender.