Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

The Business Matrix: Saturday 4 June 2011

Laura Ashley hit by 1.3% sales fall

The fashion and furnishings chain Laura Ashley said like-for-like sales were down 1.3 per cent in the 17 weeks to May 28, but added that sales improved as the period wore on. The company, which operates 214 stores in the UK, expects strong overseas growth and cost cutting will help it meet expectations for the year.

Halfords in £7.5m hit from Focus

Halfords has been landed with a £7.5m hit from the collapse of Focus DIY. The charge relates to guarantees given in the 1980s to landlords of properties leased by Payless DIY, which became a part of Focus DIY when both Halfords and Payless were under the ownership of the conglomerate Ward White Group.

Hornby ‘resolves’ supply problems

Hornby has insisted the supply-chain problems which caused its annual profits to slump 21 per cent to £4.1m have been resolved in time to meet demand for London Olympics merchandise, such as its model Scalextric Velodrome. The model train and car maker has also won a licence to produce Star Wars models.

Jane Norman put up for sale

Jane Norman has kicked off a process to sell the young fashion chain, which was formerly owned by the defunct Icelandic retailer Baugur and the collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Pricewaterhouse- Coopers is handling the sale, which is thought to have been driven by the banks.

Rothschild’s firm aims to raise £1bn

An acquisition vehicle backed by financier Nat Rothschild and the former BP boss Tony Hayward could announce its intention to float as early as next week after its board approved its pathfinder prospectus. Vallares, set to be a sequel to Rothschild’s £2.5bn mining investment vehicle Vallar, is aiming to raise £1bn to invest in oil assets.

WPP investors stage pay revolt

Nearly 42 per cent of WPP investors have voted against the advertising group’s executive pay plans at its annual meeting in Dublin. The company, which is based in Ireland for tax reasons, has been critised by investor advisory groups such as Pirc for paying excessive executive bonuses and not explaining the targets that triggered them.

US job figures fuel recession fears

US employment rose far less than expected in May, fuelling fears of a double-dip recession in the world’s largest economy. The US jobless rate rose to 9.1 per cent in May, with the non-farm payrolls increasing by a mere 54,000 last month, as high energy prices and the effects of Japan’s earthquake hampered the American economy.

Opec may raise its oil output target

Opec will consider raising its oil output target at its 8 June meeting due to forecasts for rising oil demand in the second half of the year, a Gulf delegate for the oil cartel said yesterday. The International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy watchdog, has warned that global markets urgently need extra oil as refinery demand is about to rise.

First-class boost for BA and Iberia

International Airlines Group, the owner of BA and Iberia, posted a rise in passenger traffic for May thanks to continued growth in first-class and business-class travel. Traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose 14.1 per cent versus May 2010, while its load – how it fills its planes – was up at 78 per cent.

Greece to get aid to avoid default

Greece is likely to get a vital slice of aid in July to avoid default, its international lenders said yesterday, while the European Union also raised the prospect of expanding the state’s bailout. The European Commission, the ECB and the IMF yesterday ended a month-long review of their €110bn (£98bn) bailout.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering