The Business Matrix: Thursday 10 January 2013


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The Independent Online

Ted Baker enjoys festive boom

Ted Baker put in a barnstorming performance this Christmas with a 20.9 per cent rise in sales, despite fierce discounting on the UK High Street. The firm also announced the departure of non-executive chairman Robert Breare, to be replaced with immediate effect by the Football Association chairman, David Bernstein.

Mince pies up but Greggs sales slide

Greggs might have sold a record 8.5 million mince pies over Christmas but that wasn't enough to prevent sales from its shops sliding back by 2.9 per cent. "That's actually a pretty resilient performance," said chief executive Ken McMeikan who is off to run catering suppliers Brakes once his successor has been appointed.

Hard-up families still eating out

Money may be scarce for most families but that hasn't seemed to stop them visiting mid-priced eateries like Frankie & Benny's. The Restaurant Group, which owns the 1950s-style chain, said customers defied the economic malaise by visiting its outlets last year instead of just staying at home. Sales rose 4.5 per cent.

City spinners struggle for deals

Tulchan, the City PR firm whose clients include Marks & Spencer and Lloyds Banking Group, became the latest agency to warn that the dearth of lucrative takeover deals has hit profits. Founder Andrew Grant's pay plunged to £700,000 from £1.6m in the 11 months to March.

Moulton's Irish fund for business

John Moulton, the veteran venture capitalist, is setting a €100m (£81m) joint venture with Ireland's national pension and social welfare fund to invest in struggling small and medium-sized companies, investing in distressed businesses.

Sandwich chain hires ex-Costa man

Eat, the sandwich chain, has hired a former Costa Coffee director as its new chief executive to spearhead its long-term growth plans. Adrian Johnson was recently the managing director of Costa's retail business, where he oversaw a trebling in store numbers and drove consistent sales growth, and joins Eat in June.

Euro trade blow for UK economy

Turmoil in the eurozone continues to drag down the UK's exporters, raising the probability that the economy contracted again in the final quarter of 2012. Official statistics showed that export volumes to the European Union – which accounts for half of Britain's trade – fell by 3.7 per cent in the three months to November from a year earlier.

Fat Face fills its boots over Xmas

Fat Face, the fashion brand aimed at active people, saw a record Christmas with sales up 11 per cent. The chain, which has 205 stores, said it had made market share gains and shied away from price-cutting over the festive period. Online sales rocketed 65 per cent over Christmas and make up 10 per cent of sales.

Property firm in £100m AIM listing

West End of London Property Investment Company has announced plans to float on the AIM stock market in a listing intended to raise £100m. The Schroders-managed, Jersey-domiciled fund owns £873m worth of investments in 12 properties in the West End.

H&M plots Regent Street opening

H&M, the Swedish-owned fast-fashion house, said that its new brand & Other Stories will be opening on Regent Street as part of a wider launch this spring. The womenswear brand will take space in the West End in the next few months.