Business week in review

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The Independent Online

In profit...

Who likes a dire economy? Cut-price fashion chains for a start. Primark was buoyed by a 55 per cent profit hike to £238m in Tuesday's interim figures. But Britain is too small for George Weston, the boss of owner Associated British Foods. He is planning French Primarks, having opened 15 European stores in six months.

It was a rare week of retail good news: on Wednesday that Sports Direct's Dave Forsey is to award 2,000 staff shares worth, on average, more than £50,000.

The same day, Mike Pocock, boss of Yellow Pages-owner Hibu, paid 2,500 staff bonuses two months early, despite its eye-watering debts. a loss

Nothing like a business titan dismissing public anger over tax to shake out the Monday blues. Google chairman Eric Schmidt defended the search engine's £3bn corporate tax avoidance on UK profit. The billionaire said Google was "investing heavily in Britain" by hiring more than 2,000 people. Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osorio said on Wednesday he was "disappointed" – we suspect something of an understatement – that Co-op has pulled a plan to buy more than 600 branches for £750m.

On Thursday, AstraZeneca's Pascal Soriot was under fire after profit fell by more than one-third.