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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 11 April 2012

John Lewis guns for Olympics

John Lewis yesterday started to roll out its London 2012 shop-in-shops to all its branches, as it revealed strong trading over Easter. The retailer, a sponsor of the Games, will display up to 3,000 official Olympic products at its 29 department stores, as well as space for London 2012 merchandise in its seven John Lewis at Home formats.

Work starts on BA superjumbos

Work to build the first of British Airways' new fleet of superjumbos started yesterday in a boost to the airline's plans to fly more long-haul passengers. The first of the carrier's 12 Airbus A380s, which is the largest civil aircraft ever made and is capable of seating up to 853 passengers on two decks, is expected to be delivered next year.

RBS and CVC hope to raise HK$1.7bn

Royal Bank of Scotland and the private equity fund CVC Capital Partners are seeking to raise up to HK$1.7bn (£138m) by selling 112.5 million shares in Samsonite International. The luggage manufacturer, which was bought by CVC in 2007, raised $1.25bn in a flotation on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the summer of last year.

Sunshine warms retail trading

UK retailers posted a 3.6 per cent leap in total sales in March, while like-for-like revenues grew 1.3 per cent, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG survey. While retailers benefited from the warm weather in March, chains were flattered by weak comparable sales in March 2011, when like-for-like sales fell 3.5 per cent.

Best Buy boss to quit after sales fall

Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, is stepping down from the world's largest consumer electronics chain. Mr Dunn, who also oversaw the US giant's failed attempt to break into the UK market with Carphone Warehouse, presided over declines in same-store sales in six of the last seven quarters.

Challenging times continue for Flybe

Flybe said yesterday it had seen no let-up in the "challenging" conditions which have grounded its shares in recent months. Europe's biggest regional airline is forecast to make a loss in the year to 31 March, although in a trading update it said the final quarter of the period had been in line with its hopes.

Free helpline for people in debt

People struggling to get debt advice can now ring a charity helpline free from mobile phones. The Consumer Credit Counselling Service changed its system after research showed many people were clocking up bills on mobiles. The helpline can be called on 0800 1381111.

BAA adds time for Edinburgh bid

BAA is set to extend the bid deadline for its sale of Edinburgh Airport beyond the end of this week to give one of the bidders more time. Global Infrastructure Partners, which owns London's City and Gatwick airports is fighting a JP Morgan-led consortium for the Scottish airport.

Bouygues to buy Thomas Vale

The French construction firm Bouygues has agreed to buy the UK construction group Thomas Vale to expand its presence in the British market. Thomas Vale, established in 1869 and based in the Midlands, employs more than 700 staff.

Sony braced for £4bn annual loss

Sony has warned that it expects to make a $6.4bn (£4bn) annual net loss, double an earlier forecast, as it writes off deferred tax credits. A fourth straight year of red ink will heap more pressure on its new CEO to turn around the giant electronics company.

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