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The Business Matrix: Thursday 9 June 2011

Nissan to build new model in UK

Nissan is to invest £192m to build the next version of its Qashqai crossover model in Britain, helping to safeguard thousands of jobs. The Japanese car giant will develop the car at Nissan’s design centre in London and at its technical site in Cranfield before it is built in Sunderland. Sunderland is also to produce Nissan’s electrical Leaf car.

Rent rises price tenants out

Growing numbers of tenants are finding themselves priced out of the market as rents continue to be pushed up by strong demand and a shortage of supply. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said rents increased across the whole of Great Britain, but London and the South-east continued to see the most notable rises.

Punch cheers sunny weather

Punch Taverns credited the recent hot weather and its refurbishment programme for a 7 per cent rise in half-yearly sales at its managed pub businesses such as the Chef & Brewer. The group said it was on track both to demerge the unit from its tenanted pubs this summer, and to hit City forecasts despite the challenging consumer environment.

Aegis buys social media specialist

Aegis has acquired the social media intelligence firm ICUC Moderation Services, in Canada, for an undisclosed sum. The marketing communications group said ICUC consults on social media to brands including Chevron, Intel and Starbucks. Aegis added ICUC had gross assets of $1.4m (£845,000) at the end of last year.

Placements up a fifth at SThree

SThree made a total of 3,450 permanent placements in the past six months, an increase of 21 per cent on the year. The recruitment company, which finds jobs for workers in the engineering, energy, pharmaceutical and finance sectors, yesterday also reported a 23 per cent rise in interim profits to £90m.

EE to roll out 30 new stores

Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, is set to expand its presence on the UK high street with plans to launch 30 new stores this year. The group, which brought the two operators together last year, yesterday plans to expand its existing network of 720 stores.

Germany adds to Greek jitters

Greece’s cost of borrowing on the bond markets jumped sharply yesterday after Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, called for “a substantial contribution” from bondholders as a condition for a new aid package from the European Union. He said Greek bonds could be extended seven years.

Key Continental recoveries falter

Falls in German industrial output and exports showed the rapid recovery in Europe’s biggest economy was slowing amid weaker global growth, raising concern for a region where indebted economies are already struggling. France also showed signs of a deceleration with a fall in exports.

Boss leaves Jane Norman

The managing director of Jane Norman has left the troubled fashion chain. Ian Findlay departed after lenders to Jane Norman appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to run a sale of the chain, which has more than 200 shops and concessions. Its banks want to sell the chain over a period of just one week.

Sharp fall in losses at Bhs

The store group Bhs sharply reduced its losses last year. Its owner Sir Philip Green, said the addition of his Wallis, Evans, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands into 180 Bhs stores had helped improve its performance. It also benefited from lower costs related to the merger of Bhs and Arcadia the year before.

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