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The Business Matrix: Thursday 20 June 2013


Cheer as Spirit sales increase

The Chef & Brewer pubs company Spirit said like-for-like sales in its managed estate improved 2.6 per cent in the six weeks to 25 May 25, having been down by 3.8 per cent in the previous six weeks as cold weather impacted trade. The chief executive Mike Tye said it was a resilient performance in volatile trading conditions.

Japan's shock and awe tactics pay off

Japan's "shock and awe" tactics to revive the world's third biggest economy paid off in May with the biggest rise in exports since 2010. The weaker yen helped shipments jump 10.1 per cent year on year to 5.8 £39bn. But the 20 per cent fall in teh currency also saw the cost of imports soar, increasing the trade deficit by 10 per cent.

Cold spring gives Hennes the chills

Hennes & Mauritz has blamed cold weather and cash-strapped shoppers for a 4 per cent fall in first-half sales. A chilly spring in Europe saw the Swedish fashion giant, which has 2,900 plus stores in 49 countries, forced to cut prices to lure shoppers. Its earnings fell 11 per cent to £470,000 in the second quarter.

Spain jobless total too high, says IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the economic progress made by Spain, but warns that more needs to be done to tackle the 27 per cent unemployment rate. "Strong reform progress is helping stabilise the economy... but unemployment remains unacceptably high and the outlook difficult," said the IMF.

Touch screen a hit for House of Fraser

The department store chain House of Fraser said more than 50 per cent of its online traffic now came from touch screen devices, prompting a redesign of its website for mobile and touch devices before working on its desktop version. The new site is due to be launched before the end of 2013.

Oil industry pumps up Weir

The pumps and valves firm Weir said trading in April and May was in line with expectations as it told investors and analysts in London that it was capable of annual underlying revenues growth of 5 per cent to 10 per cent. The firm has benefited from demand in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

Sales increase continues at DFS

The furniture retailer DFS said it achieved a 7.8 per cent rise in sales to £482m in the nine months to 27 April, continuing the positive trend of the first half. Underlying earnings grew by 8.5 per cent to £48m after further investment of £2.5m in the expansion of the business.

Another setback for Dreamliner

A month after Boeing's 787 Dreamliner returned to the skies, a United Airlines 787 flight from Denver to Tokyo was diverted to Seattle last night due to an oil-filter problem. Battery problems at other airlines saw the airline grounded for four months for safety checks.

Rogue property trader fined £1m

A salesman who arranged sale and rent-back deals and lied about property values has been fined nearly £1m by the Financial Conduct Authority for misleading customers. Gurpreet Singh Chadda traded as Red2Black Homes and B&L Homes.

Commerzbank to cut 5,200 jobs

Germany's second-largest lender Commerzbank is to cut 5,200 jobs, about 12 per cent of its 45,000 full-time staff. Around 3,900 jobs will be eliminated at the core bank in Germany. The bank is 17 per cent state-owned since a bailout during the crisis.