Business news in brief

Pop stars' earnings are set to more than double over the next five years, according to a survey of entertainment agents conducted by Credit Suisse. The UK music industry is expected to show huge growth, driven by strong sales of records overseas. Michael Jackson was voted by agents as the most successful pop star ever, according to the survey. He beat Oasis into second place, but the Manchester pop sensation came ahead of U2 and the Spice Girls. However aspiring stars cannot count on cashing in on the industry's growth. Agents said the majority of new bands failed within 12 months and image was much more important than talent.

Economic growth in the UK is set to almost halve over the next year as rising interest rates hit consumer spending, the Chartered Institute of Marketing forecasts today. Professor Douglas McWilliams, the institute's economic adviser, predicted that total output growth would fall from 3.7 per cent this year to 2.1 per cent next year and would edge up only slightly to 2.3 per cent in 1999. Inflation will also drop back to 2.7 per cent in 1998.

Worldwide demand for energy could double by 2020, needing investment of $3 trillion to cope with demand, according to a report by PowerGen, the privatised generator. It says the huge rise in demand will influence the structure of the industry, with emerging economies funding the investment through privatisation programmes. PowerGen says the industry is likely to rationalise into large global companies or smaller independent power producers.

Marks & Spencer is planning to bring its Brooks Brothers clothing chain into Britain and Europe. There are 112 Brooks Brothers outlets in America and 62 in Japan. The chain, bought by M&S in 1988 for pounds 400m, mainly sells classic menswear, although recently it has introduced casualwear ranges.

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