The Business Matrix: Thursday 23 January 2014


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The Independent Online

Coach loses ground on rivals

Sales at the New York-based bag maker Coach slumped 5.6 per cent to $1.4bn (£844m) in the last quarter of 2013 as it lost market share to rivals such as Michael Kors and Kate Spade. Analysts said its products under its new creative director, the British designer Stuart Vevers, are not expected in stores for a few months.

Quercus ‘seeking offers’ for sale

Quercus, the publisher behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has put itself up for sale, after issuing a massive profit warning last week. It said Amazon and the rise of mega-publishers such as the newly merged Penguin Random House were putting a squeeze on independents. It has appointed Livingstone Partners to “seek potential offers”.

BAE closer to Typhoon deal

BAE Systems has said it is making progress on a deal with Saudi Arabia for Eurofighter Typhoon jets and was seeking other buyers for the aircraft, despite the collapse of a sale to the United Arab Emirates. It added that current orders mean its Typhoon manufacturing line will stay busy  until 2018.

Mixed fortunes for Findel

Findel said its home-shopping business, Express Gifts, continues to trade well after year-on-year sales growth of 6.9 per cent in the 16 weeks to 17 January. Its education-supplies division has also seen evidence of recovery with sales growth of 3.4 per cent but Kitbag, which sells official football merchandise, posted a decline of 4.3 per cent.

Sage confidence in growth target

The business-software firm Sage has reported a good performance in the UK and Ireland, alongside improved trading in mainland Europe. In light of the first-quarter figures, which were in line with expectations, Sage said it is on target to deliver 6 per cent organic-revenue growth in 2015.

Habgood checks out of Whitbread

Whitbread, which trades as Premier Inn and the coffee chain Costa, said Anthony Habgood will step down from  its board later this year,  having been chairman since  mid-2005. The process to find his successor will be led by the senior independent director Sir Ian Cheshire.

Einhorn buys into BP and Micron

David Einhorn, the hedge-fund manager behind Greenlight Capital, has taken new stakes in BP and the US group Micron Technology. He told investors he bought New York-listed shares in the oil major at $47.39 and praised its policy of increasing its dividends.

Schemes ‘should be compulsory’

Britain should make workplace pension schemes compulsory  to stop millions of people living in poverty when they retire, says the think-tank Policy Exchange, which is urging the Government to scrap workers’ right to opt out of workplace pension schemes.

Land Securities’ £5.4m in lettings

Land Securities, whose property portfolio includes the shopping centres Trinity Leeds and Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, said it had signed £5.4m of investment lettings since 1 October, with a further £5m in solicitors’ hands.

RBS sells 7-acre site to Bellway

RBS has sold a seven acre site at its Heartlands development, West Lothian to Bellway. The site has permission for 88 homes, and will form the part of a 2,000-home new town development between Edinburgh  and Glasgow.