The Business Matrix: Tuesday 28 February 2012


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The Independent Online

Sir Philip's chains head to LA

Topshop and Topman, the fashion chains owned by Sir Philip Green, are to open their first shop in California next year. The combined first store on the US west coast in February 2013 will be a 25,000 sq ft outlet in the Grove shopping centre in Los Angeles. Topshop already has flagship stores in New York and Chicago.

Bovis hopes for Olympic success

House builder Bovis Homes is banking on a decent haul of Olympic gold medals this summer to boost the feelgood factor around the property market. The firm, which raised pre-tax profits 74 per cent to a forecast-beating £32.1m in 2011, reckons London 2012 success will be good for morale.

Hiscox profits take a dive

The Lloyd's of London firm Hiscox has announced profits of £17.3m, compared with £211.4m last time, a fall of 92 per cent. But in a sign of how tough the market for catastrophe insurers has been recently, Hiscox described the fall as a "good result". Hiscox also set aside $20m (£13m) for the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise liner.

Pearson in £1bn overseas drive

Dame Marjorie Scardino, the head of Pearson, has again scotched stories that the Financial Times could be sold as she earmarked another £1bn for acquisitions to drive the education group's overseas expansion. The company also owns the book publisher Penguin and Edexcel, the UK exams body.

Profits at Crew Clothing up 27%

Crew Clothing, the private-equity-backed fashion retailer, has bucked the downturn to grow its profits by more than a quarter, boosted by new shops. The chain of 60-plus UK shops posted a 27 per cent leap in pre-tax profits to £3.24m over the year to 30 October 2011.

ABF gets a sweet result from sugar

Associated British Foods has reported a rise in sugar production from 1 million tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes year on year, thanks to a mild winter that increased the sugar content of beets. The group also said its fashion chain Primark had a "cracking" Christmas, posting a 15 per cent rise in sales.

Essar Energy shares fall 18%

Shares in the India-focused Essar Energy fell 18 per cent in London after missing earnings forecasts. The oil refiner, majority-owned by the Ruia family's Essar Group, is awaiting permission to develop new coal mines and has also been hit by the loss of a tax break.

LV= profits from high petrol costs

High petrol prices – meaning fewer car journeys – helped profits at LV=, the insurer formerly known as Liverpool Victoria, despite dubious whiplash claims and other fraud sending premiums higher in the industry. Profits at LV=, the UK's fourth-largest car insurer, doubled to £70m.

Lloyds' Moreno to step down

Lloyds Banking Group said Glen Moreno, its deputy chairman and senior independent director, will not seek re-election at its annual meeting in May. Chairman Sir Win Bischoff described him as "an indefatigable champion" of Lloyds shareholders.

Restructuring at Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's has reshuffled its senior management team, with a series of internal moves. Roger Burnley becomes managing director of general merchandise, and Helen Buck takes the role of retail director.