|Marks and Spencer Group Plc looking to increase clothing sales with the help of British Fashion Council|
|Wednesday, 20 February 2013 09:24|
News round up: M&S, BHP Billiton, Sainsbury's, Japan, Banks, High street, Regus, Britain's visa system, European banks, easyJet.
Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS) reported 3.8 per cent fall in general merchandise sales, which includes clothing, in the run up to Christmas, prompting a three-year deal with the British Fashion Council to collaborate on new clothing collections, The Telegraph reports.
BHP Billiton has named its new chief executive on the same day that it revealed its worst half-year figures for more than a decade. The Australian global mining company has appointed Andrew Mackenzie, the head of its base metals division, to replace Marius Kloppers, who will step down in May.
Sainsbury's hailed a "significant milestone" yesterday as non-food sales reached £1 billion a year for the first time. The group was helped by its best ever Christmas, when general merchandise sales grew by a third compared to the previous year.
A rebound in Japan's exports in January failed to keep pace with growth in imports, leaving a record Y1.63tn trade deficit for the month. The provisional data released on Wednesday shows exports for the world's third-biggest economy rose 6.4 per cent to Y4.8tn in January from a year earlier, the first year-on-year increase in eight months, while imports jumped 7.3 per cent to Y6.4tn.
Banks are continuing to hold assets that are wrongly valued, the new financial regulator has told The Times, in a warning that the problems that led to the 2008 financial crisis are not yet resolved. Andrew Bailey, who was appointed chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority yesterday, has used his first interview to mount a robust defence of a decision by banking supervisors to re-examine the health of the sector.
The retail industry has charged the Chancellor to use the Budget to save the beleaguered high street by calling for business rates to be frozen and bureaucracy to be cut. More than one in seven shops on high streets in Britain are empty after a wave of retailers have collapsed into administration in the last year, including Comet, HMV and Jessops.
Regus, the global office supplier, has lifted its offer by nearly two-thirds to £65.6m in the bidding war to acquire troubled rival MWB Business Exchange. This was marginally above the £65m offered by Pyrrho Investments.
Britain's visa system
Britain's restrictive visa system for Chinese visitors could be "solved tomorrow" and would help put the UK "back on the path to growth", according to the boss of the world's biggest hotels group. Simplifying the rules for Chinese nationals who want to visit Britain could be done at "no cost" to the Treasury and would "easily" allow tourism businesses to help grow UK GDP, Richard Solomons, chief executive of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), said.
One month before easyJet launches its new routes from London and Manchester to Moscow, the airline still does not have a flight permit from the Russian authorities.
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