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July 19, 2011

BAA ordered to sell airports

by Kay Mitchell
Airport operator BAA has been ordered to sell Stansted Airport and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports, it has been confirmed. BAA, which is majority-owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, has been under investigation by the Competition Commission since 2007. In its final ruling, the Commission said the sale of the airports was fully justified and the sale will commence in three months time. Commenting on its ruling, ...

July 18, 2011

Co-operative Financial Services to axe 670 jobs

by Kay Mitchell
Manchester-based Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) has announced plans to axe more than 600 jobs as part of a strategic review. The group said 670 field based jobs will go after conducting a review of its life insurance and savings division following its merger with the Britannia Building Society in August 2009. CFS, which has 8 million customers, has a workforce of 12,000 ...

July 7, 2011

WH Smith posts 4% decline in sales

by Kay Mitchell
WH Smith, which sells newspapers, books, stationery and confectionery, today announced like-for-like sales fell 4% in the 18 weeks to 2 July compared with the same period a year ago. However, the company, which operates on the High Street and at travel-based outlets such as airports, train stations and motorway service stations, said it “remained confident” about the full year. Retailers ...

July 5, 2011

Train maker Bombardier unveils more than 1,000 job losses

by Kay Mitchell
Train maker Bombardier has today revealed it will axe 1,400 jobs at its plant in Derby. The job cuts are attributed to the company losing out to Siemens on the £1.4 billion Thameslink contract. Its Derby operations has a workforce of 3,000 and the company said 446 permanent jobs and 983 temporary staff will go. "The culmination and successful delivery of ...

June 30, 2011

HMV profits and sales fall

by Kay Mitchell
Music, books and games retailer HMV has today reported a pre-tax profit of £28.9 million in the 12 months to the end of April – a fall of 61% compared with the £74.2 million in the same period a year earlier. Furthermore, like-for-like sales have dived 11% over the past year as it struggles with tough competition from supermarkets and internet companies, such ...

Debenhams reports rise in half-year sales

by Kay Mitchell
Debenhams, which is Britain's second largest department store after John Lewis, today brought some much-needed good news to the retail sector after reporting an increase in second half-sales. The retailing giant said sales at stores open more than a year, excluding VAT sales tax, were 1.5% higher in the 17 weeks to June 25. It also said it would meet forecasts for full-year ...

June 29, 2011

Japan’s industrial output recovers further in May

by Kay Mitchell
Japan’s industrial output recovered further last month after a record drop in March due to the earthquake and tsunami. Disruptions caused by the twin disasters resulted in carmakers being forced to halt production as a result of parts shortages. However, it looks as if the situation is improving for manufacturers after output rose at a better-than-expected rate in May. Industrial output surged by ...

June 28, 2011

TJ Hughes on verge of administration

by Kay Mitchell
Department store chain TJ Hughes has today revealed it is set to enter administration. The Liverpool-based store has more than 50 outlets across the UK and has a headcount of 4,000 – which are all at risk. The company said it will be appointing an administrator over the next week or so, unless a buyer can be found for the business. In March, the ...

Carpetright profits hit by challenging conditions

by Kay Mitchell
Carpetright has today added to the doom and gloom surrounding the retail sector by announcing a 70% fall in annual profits. The company blamed "very challenging trading conditions” after profits for the year to 30 April came in at £6.6 million – down from £22.3 million a year ago. Meanwhile, annual revenues were down 6% at £486.8 million. The figures come on the same ...

Thorntons announces store closures

by Kay Mitchell
Chocolate retailer Thorntons has today announced plans to close 120 stores over the next three years. The firm also said, as part of a strategic review of the business, a further 60 shops could close as it blamed challenging trading conditions for the latest measures. The announcement comes just one day after it was revealed fashion retailer Jane Norman had entered administration. Furthermore, furniture chain Habitat ...

June 27, 2011

Jane Norman enters administration

by Kay Mitchell
Fashion chain Jane Norman has gone into administration after failing to find a buyer. The retailer was forced to close its 90 UK stores this weekend and the news comes just a few days after it emerged that furniture chain Habitat is to be put into administration. Jane Norman is understood to have appointed American accounting firm, Zolfo Cooper who will supervise a pre-pack administration. The ...

June 24, 2011

Habitat stores enter administration

by Kay Mitchell
Furniture chain Habitat is to be put into administration but three of its stores are to be bought by Home Retail Group (owner of Argos and Homebase). Home Retail Group is acquiring the rights to the Habitat brand in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Administrators have been appointed for 30 of the outlets, which will trade for the next six months until a ...

June 23, 2011

Dixons like-for-like sales 2% lower

by Kay Mitchell
Electrical goods retailer Dixons has today reported like-for-like sales fell 2% in the year to April. The results come just a day after fellow electrical goods chain Comet said sales fell 6.8% for the 12 month period. The figures are evidence of consumers reining in their spending and opting not to purchase big-ticket items at this time, in the face of austerity measures and ...

June 22, 2011

Comet sales slump despite turnaround efforts

by Kay Mitchell
Electrical goods retailer Comet has today posted a 6.8% fall in sales for the year to 30 April, slumping to a loss of €10 million (£9 million). The chain said trade had deteriorated in the new financial year and chairman David Newlands described the results as “unsatisfactory and unacceptable”. Comet’s parent company, Kesa, however posted a 2.3% rise in adjusted profits before tax, ...

June 21, 2011

Travel chaos looms as Virgin Atlantic pilots vote to strike

by Kay Mitchell
Holidaymakers look set to have their summer travel plans disrupted after it emerged today that Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted for industrial action – the first time in the airline’s 32-year history. According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) union, 97% of its members voted for strike action after pay talks with the company collapsed. Balpa said that ...

June 14, 2011

Tesco UK sales hit by weak consumer spending

by Kay Mitchell
Supermarket giant Tesco has today reported a fall in UK like-for-like sales but said overseas sales remained strong. British shoppers continue to rein in their spending due to economic uncertainty and Government spending cuts which led to a fall of 0.1% in sales for the 12 week period to 28 May – worse than the 0.6% rise expected by analysts. The ...

June 13, 2011

BAA reports 9.2% rise in May passenger numbers

by Kay Mitchell
Airports operator BAA has today reported a sharp rise in passenger numbers at its six British airports in May. BAA, which is majority owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, said 9.3 million passengers flew from its UK airports during the month, boosted by the late Easter holiday and the Royal Wedding, which led to an increase in the early part of the ...

June 9, 2011

Argos reports sharp fall in sales

by Kay Mitchell
There is further evidence of consumers reining in their spending after Home Retail Group (HRG), the biggest household goods retailer, said sales fell 9.6% in the 13 weeks to the end of May. Shares in HRG sank 11% after the announcement – a 2½ year low – after it said trading conditions were challenging and consumers were opting not to purchase big-ticket ...

June 7, 2011

Struggling HMV secures future with refinancing agreement

by Kay Mitchell
Shares in troubled music, books and games retailer HMV have risen today after it emerged that it has secured a new refinancing deal with its lenders. The deal, worth £220 million, will see the taxpayer taking a stake in the company. The group’s main lenders are taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group. Meanwhile, the announcement comes just a month ...