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The Business Matrix: Thursday 11 July 2013


Burberry’s sales boost due to men

Dapper men snapping up Burberry’s smart tailoring and accessories helped the luxury brand report forecast-beating sales yesterday. Its chief executive, Angela Ahrendts, said “spring/summer 2013 was a standout season” for the brand as it reported first-quarter sales of £339m, well ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Former Ofcom chief joins Informa

The former Ofcom chief executive Lord Carter was yesterday named the next chief executive of the publisher and events group Informa as Peter Rigby announced he is stepping down in December after 25 years at the top. Mr Rigby has been chief executive or executive chairman continuously since 1988.

Cycling mania helps Halfords

Massive demand for bikes, cycle repairs and Lycra riding wear propelled Halfords to an 8.8 per cent rise in sales in the first quarter to July. Perhaps inspired by the current Tour de France as well as the lingering effects of Britain’s Olympic success in the velodrome last year, Halfords saw a 15.5 per cent lift in revenues from cycling.

Icap sold off as shares tumble

A huge surge in bond trading after the United States Federal Reserve shook markets with plans to slow its money-printing programme failed to save broking giant Icap from a City sell-off yesterday. Shares in the interdealer broker tumbled 15.1p, or 4 per cent, to 384.9p, wiping nearly £100m off the value of the company.

£280m race track approved in Wales

Planners in South Wales shrugged off environmental concerns yesterday to approve a £280m motor-racing track. The group behind the Circuit of Wales says up to 6,000 jobs will be created. Funding included a £2m loan by the Welsh Government, while the developers hope to attract more private investment.

Booker bulk buys sees sales grow

Cash-and-carry chain Booker grew underlying sales 1 per cent in its first quarter despite tough comparatives from last year’s Diamond Jubilee and better Easter weather. The group said underlying sales in its newly-acquired Makro arm fell 6 per cent during the 12 weeks to 2 June.

Vertu chain buys two VW outlets

Car dealership chain Vertu Motors has bought two Volkswagen outlets in Lincolnshire from rival Lookers. Hampshire-based Vertu said it expects to pay £3m to acquire the outlets, which have £20m of turnover. Vertu is also opening a Seat dealership in Birmingham.

Serviced office group expands

A company behind serviced offices in London and the  South-east is buying a rival for £15m to boost its presence in the capital. Serviced Office Group is raising £12m through a share issue to acquire Avanta Managed Offices, giving it 37 new sites.

WPP extends its Bangladesh arm

Advertising giant WPP has expanded in Bangladesh by buying a research agency in the country. The London-based group’s consumer insight arm Kantar bought Sirius Marketing & Social Research for an undisclosed sum.

China sales fall for buoyant Bentley

Order books filling up across Europe, the US and the Middle East helped luxury car maker Bentley post a 9 per cent rise in half-year sales today. Despite this, the UK-based company said sales in China fell 23 per cent.