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The Business Matrix: Monday 23 December 2013

Sam Cam firm slips into red

Smythson, the leather goods and stationery brand that counts Samantha Cameron as a consultant, fell into the red as it invested in new stores. The firm, which opened a store in Hong Kong in June, left, reported a £1.6m loss for the year to April, down from a £1.4m profit the year before. Sales rose 3.65 per cent to £28.4m.

Qatar plans floats worth $14bn

Qatar is lining $14bn (£8.5bn) worth of company flotations over the next 10 years. The Gulf emirate yesterday announced plans for a £540m inital public offering of shares in Mesaieed Petrochemical Holdings, part of Qatar Petroleum, next month. It will be the first IPO on Qatar’s stock market, which was hard hit by the global financial crisis.

North-south divide as vacancies rise

Competition for jobs has fallen this year amid an increase in vacancies, although a north-south divide persists, according to a new report. The jobs website Adzuna.co.uk said it was 200 times more difficult to find work in Salford than in Cambridge. It said there were 760,000 advertised job vacancies last month.

Consumers cash in reward plans

Consumers are set to use £38.5bn worth of shopping vouchers, buy-one-get-one-free deals and credit card rewards this year, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. It found that this area accounted for £1 in every £25 spent, or £742 on average per shopper per year.

Crown backing for Banbury Gateway

The Crown Estate is putting £80m into Banbury Gateway fashion park, which is set to start development early next year. The group is buying the interest from LXB Retail Properties. M&S and Next have agreed to be core tenants.

Taxman loses out from Blockbuster

The taxman is set to lose £7m from the collapse of Blockbuster. HMRC lost £4.8m of tax revenues when the video-rental chain went into administration in January. It now stands to lose another £2.1m in VAT, national insurance and PAYE payments.

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