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The Business Matrix: Monday 15 April 2013


Snow puts Brits' shopping on ice

Last month's snow led to the lowest number of visitors to the nation's shops for nearly a year. Total footfall tumbled by 5.2 per cent in March, the worst figures since April 2012, according to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard survey. Fashion retailers, which start selling summer clothes in January, have been particularly badly hit by the cold weather.

Firms to face soaring malware

The number of unique viruses and bugs created to attack the IT of the world's banks, utilities and governments will double this year, a leading cyber security expert has warned. Bill Conner, chief executive of American IT security firm Entrust, warned that the 300,000 variants of malware created every day of 2012, will be at least 600,000 by the end of 2013.

Axa warns over flood insurance

Thousands of homes will be "unsellable" if the Government fails to agree a deal on flood insurance with industry soon, claims Paul Evans, the boss of insurer Axa UK. A 13-year-old agreement between Government and the Association of British Insurers ends in June. It sees the industry subsidise the policies of homes built on flood plains.

Lehman creditors due £2.8bn payout

The estate of Lehman Brothers' European arm is preparing to make a $340m (£221m) payment to clients whose money was held in a pooled account, at the same time as heralding further dividends to unsecured creditors of at least £2.8bn. The payments follow deals in the winding-up of the estate of Lehman Brothers International (Europe).

Tesco in first profit fall for 20 years

Tesco will this week report its first drop in annual profits for almost 20 years as it battles to revive its ailing British business and takes a huge hit over its failed US venture. The retailer is expected to report a 10 per cent slump in profits to £3.4bn on Wednesday. The City is also braced for a possible £1bn write-off on its US operations.

Water giant braces for overseas bid

United Utilities, one of Britain's biggest water companies, is strengthening its defences against a possible £7bn takeover offer. It has hired Goldman Sachs to beef up its advisers amid reports that foreign buyers are set to pounce on the company, which supplies 7m customers in the north-west.

Filters put spring in Waterlogic

An office isn't complete without a water-cooler for people to gossip around, but Waterlogic has been making a tidy profit replacing them with filters. Today it begins an investor roadshow. Waterlogic floated on AIM in July 2011 at 145p, and earlier this year bought Scottish-based Aqua Cure.

Tough trading at Michael Page

The results of a management overhaul will be eagerly awaited by shareholders of recruiter Michael Page tomorrow. At its final results on 5 March, current trading was tough so analysts at Peel Hunt expect more of the same. It is also rolling out a new IT system, which Peel thinks "may cause some disruption".

Burberry checks on China spend

Fashion followers will get a taste of how Brit brand Burberry is performing at its fourth-quarter sales update on Wednesday. Analysts are awaiting news on the integration and expansion of the perfume and beauty business – but are concerned that luxury groups face a slowdown in Chinese tourists' spend.

William Hill 'is worth a punt'

Place your bets on William Hill ahead of its trading update on Friday. Analysts at Nomura think the bookmaker has had a "strong start to the year", increasing its earnings forecast. It thinks Hill "may benefit in 2013 from the probable disruption to Ladbroke's online/mobile roll-out this year".