The Business Matrix: Monday 14 April 2014


Click to follow

Chinese buys House of Fraser

The Chinese retail mogul Yuan Yafei has bought an 89 per cent stake in the department store chain House of Fraser in a £480m deal, including debt. The sale was unveiled two weeks ago but only signed over the weekend. HoF said Mike Ashley would not be entitled to a seat on the board even if his deal to buy the remaining 11 per cent from Sir Tom Hunter is completed.

Albemarle & Bond to be told its fate

Albemarle & Bond’s 900 staff are set to find out their future this week with Sir Peter Burt, the former boss of Bank of Scotland, expected to buy the pawnbroker out of administration. However, Sir Peter’s Promethean is not expected to take on all of A&B’s 183 branches. PwC confirmed a deal is expected this week. Promethean was not available to comment.

What the Sunday papers said

Scottish vote could hit rail link

A vote for Scottish independence could derail plans for a high-speed rail link between London and Glasgow, a Cabinet minister has warned. A report on the third phase of HS2, which would take the line into Scotland and could cut an hour off the journey between Glasgow and London, is due later this year.

The Independent on Sunday

Co-op’s stake in bank set to fall

The Co-operative Group’s  stake in its troubled banking arm could fall below 25 per cent. The mutual, which is expected to unveil its own £2bn-plus loss this week, owns 30 per cent of the bank, but is only expected to fund part of its share of the bank’s planned £400m fundraising, meaning its stake will drop.

Mail on Sunday

Tesco’s board under pressure

Tesco’s investors are lining up replacements for its chief executive, Philip Clarke. Although top investors in the supermarkets group have not called for Mr Clarke to go, the former Dixons boss John Browett and Unilever’s Dave Lewis have been suggested as successors.

The Sunday Times

Wages creep above inflation

Official figures on Wednesday are set to show annual growth in weekly earnings of 1.8 per cent in the three months to February, taking wages above inflation for the first time in four years. The figures come as forecasters at EY Item reckon the country is set for a “long time of low inflation”.

The Sunday Telegraph

The Week ahead


Debenhams publishes half-year results on Tuesday, months after issuing a stark profits warning when a hoped-for surge in Christmas sales failed to materialise. Margins were lower partly because the department store cut prices in order to compete amid an unprecedented wave of promotions on the high street.


Tesco’s chief executive Philip Clarke will have a tough job convincing investors things are moving in the right direction when the supermarket delivers full-year results on Wednesday.

Analysts on average expect to see underlying pre-tax  profits at the group shrink by 15 per cent to around £3bn for the full year.