Business week in review

In profit...

Who needs nuclear power? Not British Gas owner Centrica, that's for sure. Instead, boss Sam Laidlaw looked to electrify the market (we're proud of that one) by snapping up $1bn (£656m) of natural gas and crude oil assets in Canada.

The buy was announced on Monday. This was the first made with Qatar Petroleum International since the companies signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate on energy investment in late 2011. However, Centrica was still hit by criticism that it should focus more on its domestic, UK base. Earlier this year, Centrica pulled out of the Government's new nuclear power station programme.

The billionaire titan of the mining industry, Ivan Glasenberg, finally got the greenlight from Chinese authorities on Tuesday for his Glencore commodities empire to takeover FTSE 100 stalwart Xstrata. The deal has been protracted as it waited approval from regulators around the world, with the Chinese having taken the longest to give the go-ahead.

Another company thankful to the People's Republic was Burberry, with Chinese demand for its expensive leather handbags helping to beat sales forecasts on Tuesday. Angela Ahrendts said Burberry had benefitted from a strong Christmas and Chinese New Year.

...at a loss

What a dreadful week for three of the biggest names in British retailing. Let's start with Janie Schaffer AKA the Knicker Queen.

On Tuesday, the woman who founded the Knickerbox chain left Marks & Spencer just three months after being brought in to breathe life into the high-street chain's lingerie division. The word is that she wasn't given the sort control that a monarch would expect.

Schaffer resigns at a time when M&S is under such pressure from investors for recording seven consecutive quarters of falling sales in its general merchandise division. Previously, she was chief creative officer at the rather saucier Victoria's Secret chain.

Analysts and investors in the City who didn't nip out to catch a glimpse of Lady Thatcher's coffin being taken to St Paul's on Wednesday will have been shaking their heads at Tesco's first decline in profit for nearly two decades. Chief executive Philip Clarke also confirmed that the cost of exiting the US, where the Fresh & Easy shops have failed capture Americans' imaginations, will cost £1.2bn.

Finally, on Wednesday it emerged that Sainsbury's boss Justin King is closing the chain's final salary pension scheme to existing staff.

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