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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 16 July 2013

H&M boosted by strong demand

The Swedish fashion giant H&M has posted its best global sales for nine months, boosted by strong demand for its new ranges and more favourable weather in Europe. The retailer has also continued to open stores at a rapid rate, including in China, Russia and the US, growing its total number of shops to 2,926.

Thorntons copes with the heat

The chief executive of Thorntons has said the recent heatwave has not been good for chocolate sales but claimed its new strategy had made it less vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather. Jonathan Hart made his comments as the chocolatier reaffirmed that profits for the year just ended will be ahead of City expectations.

BA still backing the Dreamliner

British Airways and other UK airlines flying Boeing's Dreamliner have thrown their support behind the troubled jet, which caught fire at Heathrow on Friday. BA said its plans "have not changed" and it still intends to fly the 787 plane on its inaugural route from London to Toronto from September.

Travelzest gains breathing space

Travel agent Travelzest gained more breathing space from Barclays yesterday as the bank said it would support the firm until 30 August "whereupon it will reassess the position of the company". Travelzest is attempting to renegotiate loans which it claims are "unsustainable and negatively impacting profitability".

Lowth moves and takes a pay cut

AstraZeneca's finance director Simon Lowth, who was interim chief executive of the drugmaker last year, is set to leave the company in October to take the same role at BG Group. Mr Lowth is taking a pay cut to make the move: at BG, he is set to earn a salary of £725,000, down from his Astra base pay of £740,000.

Interserve to buy Topaz for £30m

Outsourcing group Interserve is planning to expand its business interests in the Middle East by buying an oil field maintenance firm for £30m. The company, which employs 50,000 people, said that buying Topaz Oil and Gas will boost its services in the United Arab Emirates with major oil firms.

Recruiter SThree to shed jobs

Recruiter SThree said it plans to cut 8 per cent of its support function jobs and seven offices across Europe in a bid to reduce costs across the company. The group said that 50 employees will be affected from its support services unit and 13 from sales management.

Apple's chip deal with Samsung

Apple has reportedly signed up Samsung to supply chips for its new iPhone, in an apparent reversal of relations between the two rivals. San Francisco-based Apple has been cutting manufacturing links with Samsung for over a year after a series of costly patent disputes between the two.

Cake-makers' sweet results

The maker of Nestlé cakes said results will beat expectations as an efficiency drive pays off. Cardiff-based Finsbury Food Group is also increasing investment in its speciality bakery arm, including by expanding at a site in Salisbury.

Poor weather boosts feeds group

Agricultural supplies firm Carr's Milling Industries said poor weather boosted sales of its animal feeds in the 18 weeks to 6 July. The Carlisle-based group added that the closure of a competitor has eased pressure in its flour milling business.

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