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The Business Matrix: Saturday 14 January 2012

Ted Baker's sales rise across board

The fashion chain Ted Baker has unveiled a 16 per cent surge in sales in the past two months, saying its decision to hold its nerve on discounting helped protect profits. The group saw a strong performance across its retail, wholesale and licensing arms. The company will open a shop on New York's Fifth Avenue this summer.

G4S chief quits over deal collapse

The chairman of G4S fell on his sword as he paid the price for the global security firm's abandoned £5.3bn takeover of Danish cleaning firm ISS. Alf Duch-Pedersen, 65, who has headed the G4S board since 2006, is leaving after the collapse of the deal last November, although chief executive Nick Buckles is still in a job.

Invensys slumps on profit warning

Shares in the engineering giant Invensys slumped 20 per cent yesterday after it warned that profits this year will fall well below City expectations. It said problems with nuclear reactors in China and a number of railway signalling contracts around the world meant operating profits would be £60m less than expected at about £210m.

Manufacturing prices finally fall

Factory gate prices fell in December for the first time in 18 months, bolstering Bank of England hopes that the painful squeeze on living standards from inflation will ease sharply this year. Output prices were down 0.2 per cent, the first month-on-month slide since June 2010, as manufacturers passed on lower materials costs.

Volex to splash out for green Apple

A green push by Apple will end up costing the maker of its leads and cables up to £4m this year. Apple is the biggest customer of Volex, which makes the power cables and USB leads used with laptops, iPhones and iPads. But Apple wants halogen-free power cables, which are less harmful to the environment.

Ashley to take a bite of Hot Tuna

The Sports Direct mogul Mike Ashley is set to buy Hot Tuna – the loss-making beach and surfwear fashion firm that once boasted ex-supermodel Elle Macpherson as a director. Brands Holdings, a subsidiary of Sports Direct, has offered £950,000 for the assets of the AIM-listed firm.

Npower cuts gas prices by 5%

Npower became the latest energy supplier to cut prices when it announced a 5 per cent fall in gas tariffs. The big-six supplier said prices for standard and capped gas charges will fall from 1 February, while it will also waive cancellation fees on fixed-price deals for two months.

End of the line for Best Buy stores

Best Buy will start closing down its UK stores tomorrow after throwing in the towel in its battle to shake up the UK electronics market. The 11 "big box" shops were created after the independent mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse joined forces with the US group in May 2008.

Superdrug made up with 2011 sales

Christmas in 2011 was the year of the fake eyelash at beauty and health retailer Superdrug, with Liverpool selling more than any other city. The firm took advantage of strong sales of fragrance to achieve a year-on-year sales increase of 2.5 per cent between 27 November and 31 December.

Prime initiative for older start-ups

Unemployed people aged over 50 are being helped back into work by a charity that provides them with advice and support to start their own business. The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (Prime) was founded by the Prince of Wales in response to letters he received.

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