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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 9 October 2012

Sales rise gives festive hopes

Hopes for a better-than- expected Christmas for the high street were raised yesterday after chains delivered a 1.5 per cent uplift in like-for-like sales in September, according to the latest British Retail Consortium and KPMG survey. It said the colder weather particularly boosted clothing and footwear retailers.

Another platinum chief quits

The chief executive of Aquarius Platinum has resigned as pressure mounts across the South African precious metal industry with falling prices and violent wage protests. The exit of Stuart Murray, who has run the FTSE 250 company Aquarius for just over a decade, is the third major departure from a platinum miner this year.

Deezer wins £80m backing

Deezer, an online music subscription site that rivals Spotify, has won €100m (£80m) backing from investors including the parent company of Warner Music Group, Access Industries. The deal for Paris-based Deezer is France's biggest start-up funding round and means an important tie-up to Warner, whose artists include Madonna.

Bank fines to go to armed forces

Fines from banks and other financial services firms are to go to the armed forces, rather than the industry, the Government announced yesterday. Revenues from penalties, including £35m of fines imposed for attempted manipulation of the Libor interest rate, will be allocated to the Armed Forces Covenant Reference Groups.

AstraZeneca buys kidney drug

AstraZeneca's new boss has agreed his first major deal at the pharmaceuticals giant, spending up to $272m (£169m) on the rights to an experimental kidney drug from the biotech firm Ardelyx. This month, on his first day in the job, Pascal Soriot suspended Astra's share buybacks for the rest of the year.

Wet summer hits meat supplier

Washed-out barbecues during the wettest summer for a century meant pork processor Cranswick's sales came in below City forecasts. Sales grew 7 per cent between April and June but that slowed to 3.4 per cent in the past three months, almost entirely from price rises. Cranswick shares fell 6 per cent.

Profits keep diving at HTC

HTC has suffered a near 80 per cent fall in its profits after the Taiwanese smartphones maker continued to lose ground to Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy devices. The world's fifth-biggest smartphones manufacturer's third-quarter figures came in at £82m.

Waverley hit by redundancies

Nearly 700 staff have lost their jobs at Waverley, the wholesale drinks distributor, after administrators failed to find a buyer. Deloitte said it is to "scale down efforts" to sell Waverley as a going concern and has made 685 redundant. It will retain 97 staff to help to sell off the assets.

ITV buy to boost its Nordic hub

ITV has bought Finland's Tarinatalo, which is expected to deliver 50 hours of programming this year, including a new series of the country's version of Dragon's Den. The move is part of ITV's plan to create a Nordic creative hub.

Crisis taps firms for £600,000

Crisis is looking to raise £600,000 from firms signing up to its Christmas e-cards campaign. The homeless charity funds 10 centres to provide food and services for 3,000 people over the festive season. Details at christmascard.crisis.org.uk.

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