Business week in review


In profit...

The Hut, the online retailer that boasts backers like former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose, announced a 30 per cent hike in sales on Monday.

The duffel coats-to-DVDs seller saw sales reach £77.1m. The results have sparked talk that The Hut is ready to list on the London Stock Exchange, having shelved a flotation two years ago.

Debenhams boss Michael Sharp also had internet sales to thank as he unveiled a pre-tax profit for the group of £153m on Tuesday, with online sales now accounting for 13 per cent of the business.

On Wednesday, Santander UK chief Ana Botin vowed to help small companies “realise their growth potential”.  

... at a loss

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke saw the supermarket giant rumbled by the British Pig Executive on Monday. Tests on two pork chops found that the meat almost certainly came from Holland, despite being labelled as British.

Tesco blamed its suppliers for the mistake, which was uncovered by the BBC using isotope technology to trace animals by the water they drank.

Sticking with the Dutch, Time Out boss Aksel van der Wal, exited the post on Tuesday after the listings guide lost £3.1m before one-off expenses last year.

On Wednesday, Smiths Group head Philip Bowman unveiled a profit slide in the 162-year-old engineer’s medical and defence divisions, but did give a £118m special dividend.