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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 3 July 2012

Brits biggest fans of handbags

Britain's desire for upmarket handbags has outstripped that of every other nation, according to the World Luxury Index, and designers are clamouring for space in London.

Bottega Veneta, Michael Kors and Longchamp are all in talks to open more stores in the capital to cash in on the growing taste for designer handbags.

Signs of slowdown at US factories

US manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years as new orders plummeted. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of factory activity fell to 49.7 from 53.5 the month before. It was the first time since July 2009 the index has fallen below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

Dreyfus faces suit by rival trader

The commodity trading giant Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV is being sued by a former senior trader at rival Glencore, who alleges that Dreyfus illegally cornered the cotton market in the US last year as prices tumbled from record highs. The lawsuit is one of the highest-profile such actions in more than a decade.

Airbus plans to build US plant

Top executives from European planemaker Airbus unveiled their plans to build their first US factory yesterday, in an attempt to win market share from US rival Boeing. The plant is due to open in Alabama in 2016 and will be only the second Airbus plant outside Europe that builds its top-selling A320 aircraft; the other one is in China.

Serco agrees to sell German wing

Serco has agreed to sell most of its operations in Germany in a transaction with its local managers. Serco Germany was established in 1961 to install and support German air defence radar systems. The business has diversified into additional engineering and administrative support for the defence sector.

Cranswick buys Kingston meats

Cranswick has bought the meat products firm Kingston Foods for an undisclosed sum. Cranswick, whose products include fresh pork, sausages and bacon, said the deal strengthened its cooked meat production capabilities. Kingston is a producer of cooked and roasted meat products.

888 in American deal with WMS

The online gaming firm 888 Holdings has unveiled a strategic deal with WMS Gaming in the US. The deal will see WMS, one of the biggest suppliers of slots machines to casinos in America, offer an online product to casino customers at US venues.

Shanks names new finance chief

The waste management businesses Shanks has named Toby Woolrych as its finance director with effect from the end of August, when Chris Surch leaves to join the train and bus business FirstGroup. Mr Woolrych has been finance director at Consort Medical since 2008.

Eurozone jobless total record high

Joblessness in the eurozone rose to a new record high in May, pushed up by lay-offs in France, Spain and even stable Austria. About 17.6 million people were out of work across the 17 member states; 11.1 per cent of the working population.

Poundland posts increase in sales

Poundland posted a 22 per cent rise in sales last year, while underlying profits rose 27 per cent to £40m. The pound shop, owned by the private-equity group Warburg Pincus, said it expected to hire up to 2,000 staff this year.

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