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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 15 January 2013

Heathrow figures reach a new high

The number of passengers passing through Heathrow hit a new high of 5.6 million in December as demand for flights to and from Europe, the Middle East and east Asia soared. The number of people using the UK's busiest airport rose to nearly 70 million in 2012. The 2 per cent growth in December echoed the global economy.

Greene King prays for good weather

Greene King said it had a great Christmas but its boss, Rooney Anand, admitted that, for success to continue, the group needed decent weather in a "clean" summer. With no Olympics, Jubilee or major football tournament, pubs could be empty, especially if it rains. "People still go out if it is cold," he said. "If it's wet, they don't.

Sackings reach a five-year high

Dismissals and suspensions from financial companies hit a five-year high in 2012, the Financial Services Authority said. Some 1,373 workers were sacked for disciplinary reasons, up 76 per cent from 2011. Total job losses in the sector – including redundancies, resignations and retirements – also reached a five-year high, of 177,697.

Select enjoys a good Christmas

The young fashion chain Select said trading over Christmas had been impressive and vowed to open up to 40 new branches this year. Cafer Mahiroglu, the chief executive, said Select's 135 shops had "emerged as an ongoing success story in the battered high street". Like-for-like sales jumped by 13 per cent in the last four weeks of 2012, he added.

Sainsbury's chief joins Hammerson

David Tyler, the chairman of Sainsbury's, is moving into property and will succeed John Nelson at the helm of Hammerson in May. Mr Nelson, who has been at the property group for nine years, also chairs the Lloyd's of London market and has previously held board roles at Kngfisher, BT, and the Woolwich.

Baidu of China signs Africa deal

Baidu, the biggest internet search provider in China, has signed a deal with France's Orange Telecom to appear on the home screen of the mobile phone operator's handsets across Africa. It is believed to be the biggest foray into mobile by a Chinese web company outside its home country.

Barr tie-up with Britvic on hold

AG Barr's £1.5bn tie-up with Britvic has been put on hold after regulators demanded more time to scrutinise the deal. The Office of Fair Trading said it had not yet completed its review of the merger, so it would not be completed by the end of the month as expected.

EDF's nuclear output increases

EDF Energy said its eight UK nuclear power stations hit their highest output for seven years in 2012. The 60 terawatt hours of electricity was nearly 50 per cent higher than the last year before the stations were bought by EDF in 2009, and is enough to power half of the UK's homes.

Promising start for Big Yellow

The self-storage company Big Yellow said the new year started positively with a return to more normal trading and an encouraging book of reservations. That followed on from the seasonally quieter December quarter and a strong summer.

Eckoh extends Ideal contract

The speech recognition software specialist Eckoh extended its contract with home shopping group Ideal Shopping Direct for product ordering and customer service. Ideal is one of Eckoh's largest clients generating over 15 million minutes of call traffic.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

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Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

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Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment