The Business Matrix: Thursday 10 November 2011



Supergroup's IT glitch hits sales

Supergroup has said that the warehouse fiasco that prevented it from replenishing stock in stores in the early autumn has now been largely "rectified". But the owner of the trendy Superdry brand admitted that the IT glitch – which led to a profit warning in October – had resulted in substantially lower sales in its second quarter.

Injury claims stall Admiral's profits

The car insurer Admiral warned that higher-than-normal levels of personal injury claims were likely to dent its profits growth. Shares in the group, which owns Elephant and price comparison site Confused, slumped by a quarter after it said that current trends suggested that 2011 profits were now set to be towards the bottom end of City hopes.

Boss's leave could damage Lloyds

Lloyds Banking Group suffered a fresh blow when the ratings agency Moody's said it was considering cutting its rating on its debt as a result of the leave taken by its chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio. The bank said Mr Horta-Osorio was taking the break "on medical advice" and expects him to return in a month or two.

Olympus urged to recall Woodford

Baillie Gifford, one of the largest investors in Olympus, has called on the troubled camera and endoscope maker to reinstate Michael Woodford as chief executive. Mr Woodford was sacked by the Japanese group after he questioned the high fees paid to advisers on acquisitions. The company has since admitted it used such deals to hide losses.

SSE profits down by 25 per cent

SSE has posted a 25 per cent fall in half-year profits to £287m as soaring wholesale gas costs meant it supplied household energy at a loss until it increased bills in September. The energy giant, which trades as Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, also said consumers had cut gas usage by 16 per cent.

Chinese industrial output weakens

Chinese industrial output grew at its weakest annual pace in a year in October and inflation fell sharply, raising expectations Beijing will do more to support economic growth by a "fine tuning" policy. China's annual inflation rate fell to 5.5 per cent in October from September's 6.1 per cent.

Flybe reduces winter timetable

Flybe reported soaring half-yearly profits yesterday but said it will reduce capacity by 6 per cent over the winter amid falling demand. Europe's biggest regional airline said profits rose 74 per cent to £14m after it was boosted by higher passenger numbers in the UK and the acquisition of an airline in Finland.

FirstGroup's profits on track

FirstGroup said profits from its rail division surged but warned that demand for bus travel is being hit by the worsening economy. First-half profits at its rail division, which runs First Great Western, TransPennine Express, First Capital Connect and First ScotRail, rose 15 per cent to £56m.

Russia weighs on Carlsberg

The Danish brewer Carlsberg posted a worst than expected 21 per cent fall in third-quarter profits, hurt by a contraction of its key Russian market and rising raw materials costs. The world's fourth-largest brewer said the Russian market, about 40 per cent of group sales, had declined by 7 per cent.

Brazilian sales cheer AB InBev

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, increased profits by more than expected in the third quarter after charging more for the same amount of beer. The maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois persuaded increasingly affluent Brazilians to swallow higher prices and US drinkers to shift to premium brands.