The Business Matrix: Tuesday 21 October 2014


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The Independent Online

Amazon’s 13,000 seasonal staff

Amazon is preparing for the annual online shopping onslaught by hiring 13,000 extra seasonal staff to work in its warehouses and customer service centres over Christmas. The figure represents a fall from the 15,000 temporary hires made in 2013, although it took on 1,000 permanent employees in the last year.

Home loans fall  during August

Banks cut back on home loans in September, with gross mortgage advances falling  1 per cent in August to £17.8bn according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. However, lending was still 10 per cent up on the same month in 2013. Bob Pannell of the CML said there has been a “gentle easing” in credit growth.

Cala targets commuter belt

Luxury housebuilder Cala Group plans to triple in size by targeting wealthy would-be buyers in London’s commuter belt after revealing a rapid rise in annual profits. The Scottish company has invested in a raft of sites in London’s zone six and market towns in the Home Counties to develop a string of upmarket homes

Close offloads Seydler for £36m

City bank Close Brothers has sold its German securities business Seydler for €42m (£36m). The Frankfurt-based Seydler provides equity and bond advice to small- and medium-size companies in the German market. The business made £5m after tax last year and Close Brothers will book a £10m profit on its sale.

Greene King goes for Spirit mixer

Greene King and Spirit Pub Co agreed a takeover to create the highest revenue-earning pubco in Britain. Together the two will own just over 3,000 pubs nationwide but, with combined sales of more than £2bn a year, the enlarged Greene King will outstrip Enterprise’s £640m and Punch’s £460m of sales.

Lok’nStore has jump in earnings

Self-storage firm Lok’nStore said its adjusted earnings jumped 11.6 per cent to £4.6m in the year to the end of July after it lifted prices and occupancy levels and opened a new site in Maidenhead. The Hampshire-based firm said it plans to open new sites in Southampton, Bristol and Aldershot.

Lufthansa pilots’ strike widens

German pilots raised the pressure on Lufthansa management in a dispute over retirement benefits, widening a two-day strike to include long-haul flights. The Vereinigung Cockpit union called on pilots on long-haul routes to walk out today.

McBride plans 400 job cuts

Own-label specialist McBride will save £3m by next June and £12m by June 2016 as it cuts a quarter of the firm’s 1,600 UK jobs due to a fall in sales caused by supermarket price wars. The Manchester-based firm makes household products for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Ronnie refuses to give evidence

Chris Ronnie, the former chief executive of JJB Sports who denies a £1m fraud, has chosen not to give evidence in his defence at his trial, Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday. Ronnie is accused of receiving payments from suppliers.

UK wants reform on emissions

Britain wants reforms to Europe’s Emissions Trading System to start from 2017, four years earlier than proposed, hoping to tackle the scheme’s massive oversupply and boost investment in clean technologies.