The Business Matrix: Monday 9 September 2013


Wagamama on the road to Wembley

The noodle restaurant  Wagamama is to open its 100th UK branch in London’s first designer outlet centre opposite Wembley Stadium next month, as its private-equity owner Duke Street pushes ahead with expansion. The Japanese-inspired restaurant has been a hit since it opened its first branch in London in 1992, and now has a presence in 16 countries.

Shawbrook hands out £1bn in loans

Shawbrook Bank, launched in 2011, will today announce that it has now lent more than £1bn to small and medium-sized enterprises and personal customers – and that it was profitable for the 2012 calendar year. Shawbrook has so far made £1.13bn of loans, including £766m to SMEs. Having broken into the black in May 2012, the bank made a £2.6m profit for the full year.

What the Sunday papers said

£22m bonuses for Wetherspoon staff

Cut-price pubs chain JD Wetherspoon is to hand out £22m in bonuses to its staff, many of whom work on zero hour contracts. The average payout to the chain’s 30,000 employees will be £1,000. This year’s profits, which will be  announced on Friday, are forecast by City analysts to hit a record £76m.

Independent On Sunday

John Lewis set  to overtake M&S

John Lewis Partnership is set to overtake Marks & Spencer as Britain’s favourite retailer. First-half sales, to be revealed on Thursday, are expected to have grown by about 8 per cent to £4.2bn. Sales growth since the end of July is said to be have been even stronger. John Lewis also includes supermarket chain Waitrose.

Mail On Sunday

Zoopla eyes float with a £1bn tag

Property website Zoopla is considering floating in London with a valuation of more than £1bn. The move could be part of a £40bn bonanza of floats being lined up by the City. Others are estate agent Foxtons, Merlin, the entertainment group, and department stores chain House of Fraser.

Sunday Times

Gas veto ‘could take £1bn toll’

Consumers could be up to £1bn worse off because of ministers’ decision not to subsidise new gas storage facilities in the UK. Energy minister Michael Fallon claimed he had saved “bill-payers around £750m over 10 years”. But consultancy Redpoint said the net benefit of subsidies would be about £1bn.

Sunday Telegraph

Primark to star  for AB Foods

Associated British Foods unveils a trading statement today, and sales growth at retailer Primark looks set to offset a fall in its sugar division. Analysts at Berenberg are predicting Primark’s like-for-like sales will have grown 4 per cent over the second half, down from a 7 per cent rise in the first six months.

Whitbread may feel Costa heat

Whitbread will reveal how summer trading has been with its second-quarter results tomorrow. Will all the hot weather have hit coffee sales for its Costa Coffee business? Panmure Gordon’s Simon French thinks so, and says its sales will face challenging comparisons on this time last year.

Sport Direct looks for a Footsie result

Wednesday could be Sports Direct’s day. The sportswear retailer is widely tipped to be confirmed it will enter the FTSE 100 index in the FTSE Group’s quarterly reshuffle. Confirmation of the move will come on a day it will report a trading update and hold its annual general meeting.

Morrisons boss to face online quiz

Morrisons chief Dalton Philips will be questioned about its plans to launch food online and its burgeoning estate of convenience stores at half-year results on Thursday. The supermarket chain is forecast to post an 8 per cent fall in profit to £410m over the 26 weeks to 4 August, on flat revenue of £9bn.