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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Cyprus cash curbs ‘may last a month’

Category : World News

Tight capital controls in Cyprus could last for up to a month, the country’s foreign minister says, on the day crisis-hit banks re-opened to customers.

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VIDEO: Church becomes home to new store

Category : Business, World News

A village shop that is run from the aisles of a working church has opened in Berkshire.

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Legend Group Records Inks Multi-Album Recording/Production Contract With Powerhouse Trio — The ATOMIX

Category : Stocks

Tom Fletcher, Patrick Caccia and Mico Olmos Collaborate as The ATOMIX at Infusion Lounge at Universal City Walk, Where They Previewed Their Debut Album “In A Perfect World” on Tuesday, January 22; Rising Country Artist John Spicer Opened Show With Acoustic Performance, Followed by MAL and Emceed by Kerri Kasem

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World markets react to fiscal cliff

Category : Business, Stocks

International markets opened for business Wednesday as lawmakers in the United States raced to complete legislation that would mute much but not all of the fiscal cliff.

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Marriott International Inc. Opens Its First Hotel in Kerala India – Courtyard by Marriott, Kochi Airport

Category : Stocks

Marriott Opened Doors to Its First Hotel in Kerala India, Near Kochi Airport on Saturday 15th December 2012

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Zara owner Inditex continues China march as profits soar

Category : Business

World’s biggest fashion retailer Inditex opening five shops a shops in China to serve Asia’s booming middle class

Inditex, the world’s biggest fashion retailer and owner of the Zara brand, is pressing ahead with expansion in China and strengthening its global online business as its Spanish home market becomes less important.

The brainchild of Spain’s richest man, Amancio Ortega, Inditex has more than 6,000 stores across some 86 countries and has been opening about five shops a month in China since 2006 to serve the rapidly growing middle class.

“We see that continuing for a few years,” Capital Markets director Marcos Lopez told Reuters on Wednesday, after Inditex posted a 27% rise in nine-month net profit to the end of October.

Inditex makes 20% of its sales in Spain, but shoppers there are being squeezed by the recession. The company said it would not increase prices in response to the rise in VAT from September, potentially hitting profit margins.

Meanwhile, it opened 72 stores in China in the nine-month period, bringing its total to 347 stores in the country. Its Asian expansion has helped lift its nine-month net profit to €1.65bn.

Analysts at Citi, the international financial conglomerate, said: “The combination of accelerated store openings in the higher-growth Asian and emerging markets and the rollout of the group’s online capability should continue to deliver GDP-plus Inditex like-for-like sales growth.”

China’s upper middle class, with average annual household earnings of $40,000, could grow to 280 million people by 2020 – nearly six times Spain’s current population – according to Boston Consulting Group, a leading global management company.

Inditex opened 360 stores around the world in the nine-month period, increasing its sales by 17% to €11.4bn. It started selling online in 2010, and launched its flagship Zara brand on the web in China in September. This week Inditex said it would start internet sales in Canada in the first half of 2013.

Without the debt of many Spanish companies, the company has fared better than most of its rivals during the downturn. Analysts believe Inditex has won business from more expensive brands and independent stores forced to shut.

Spanish market share has soared to 12% for its eight brands, including Zara and the teenage chain Bershka, Lopez said. Its production model, which can get designs from sketchbook to store within a fortnight, has given Inditex an advantage over many of its competitors.

The company’s core profit – or earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) – rose 25% to €2.78bn. On Wednesday night Inditex shares, which have risen 65% in the past 12 months, climbed slightly to €103.8.

US begins ‘Black Friday’ sales

Category : World News

US retailers have opened their doors for “Black Friday”, usually the busiest shopping day of the year when stores reopen after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Pets at Home growth a cut above

Category : Business

Animal retailer and grooming salon Pets at Home boasts profits and turnover leap, raising hopes for bumper Christmas

Offering flea and worm treatments and opening more grooming salons in stores helped Pets at Home push up like for like sales last year by 1.3% while turnover jumped 7.1% to £544.3m.

In the year to 29 March, ebitda earnings – before adjustments and exceptional items – at the pet retailer increased 0.5% to £91.7m. The results are the first since new chief executive Nick Wood joined from American Golf this year to replace Matt Davies, now chief executive of Halfords.

Wood said: “In a year of significant capital and revenue investment, and against a challenging economic and retail background, it is extremely pleasing to report further growth in turnover and profit.” The new chief, owner of two bichon frise dogs called Oscar and Louis and a hamster called Snuggles, said there had been a “very strong” takeup of microchipping and flea and worm treatments at stores as well as nutritional services. “We are giving people more reasons to come to us and we want to develop expertise among our colleagues,” said Wood.

The chain, which now has 313 stores, opened 18 grooming salons and 19 Companion Care in-store veterinary practices in the year. It opened 32 stores last year and Wood believes there is “significant opportunity” to continue opening stores at the same rate. The retailer will be hoping it can continue the momentum through to Christmas, after last year it reported pet owners facing squeezed incomes had scaled down their purchases to smaller items, such as Santa stockings for hamsters, and advent calendars for dogs.

JCB Brazil plant ‘benefit’ to UK

Category : World News

A new £63m factory opened by JCB in Brazil is no threat to its UK workforce and will benefit this country’s economy, according to the company.

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CBI says public sector spending should be open to private firms

Category : Business

Employers’ body report claims government could save £22.6bn if public services were open to competition

More than a third of all public sector spending should be thrown open to competition from private companies, social enterprises and charities, Britain’s leading business organisation claimed on Monday in a move it claims would save billions of pounds a year.

Publishing its most comprehensive report on the subject, the CBI said its research suggested public services worth £278bn would benefit from being opened to competition, saving the government £22.6bn a year. Total public spending this year by central government and local authorities is projected to be £676.6bn and the employers’ body argued that any cuts would help balance the budget by the end of 2016-17.

Among the areas the CBI suggests could be opened up most rapidly are management of social housing, school meals and prison management – provoking a furious response from Dave Prentis, general secretary of the trade union Unison, who accused the CBI of plucking figures from the air.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI, blamed inertia for the lack of progress in opening public services to competition and insisted the public was supportive of the idea. A ComRes poll for the CBI found 75% agreed that a variety of providers would be more successful than a single company in running public services.

“If you look at what government says about public service reform and what the CBI would want to see done on public service reform, there’s a very significant overlap. It’s momentum we say is lacking,” Cridland said.

“After the public service white paper we have seen some action in some parts of government, but we’re not seeing enough progress across government in enough of the areas to continue to improve quality and value … The government could be bolder; we think the public would have no problem with the coalition of the willing to provide this role.”

He pointed to the Ministry of Justice under Ken Clarke and the Department for Work and Pensions as having made progress but said that relatively “uncontroversial” areas such as back-office functions were still not open to competition in many departments.

The call for more private sector involvement following the botched handling of Olympics security by private company G4S and the problems of the Southern Cross care homes added to union criticism.

“All the evidence shows that privatisation is a costly failure that the taxpayer can ill afford. Only last week MPs felt it necessary to call for a blacklist of firms that have failed to deliver on their contracts,” Prentis said.

“Privatisation failures carry heavy human costs – just ask an elderly resident of an ex-Southern Cross home. And, as the G4S Olympic fiasco clearly shows, when the private sector fails, the public sector has to pick up the pieces – including the cost,” he added.

The CBI commissioned the consultancy Oxford Economics to look at 20 service areas. It found average cost savings of 11%, in a range of 10% to 20%, worth £2bn. Extrapolating this to the £278bn of public services that the CBI believes could be opened to the private sector, the CBI produced the figure of £22.6bn of savings.

“Most public services are still largely state monopolised and it’s time to open some of them to competition,” Cridland said.

The research looked at areas such as social housing, 98% of which is managed by the public sector, prison management, which is 86% public sector-run, and school catering, which is 73% managed by the public sector.

Cridland acknowledged the CBI represented companies that could make money from taking on public services, but said the private sector did not want a race to the bottom on price, and would not benefit from simply cutting quality of services.

“For me this is all about quality,” he added.

Ali Parsa, chief executive of Circle Healthcare, who sits on the CBI’s public services strategy board, claimed private innovation had created a situation where cataract operations cost £2,000 in the US, £1,000 in Britain and £50 in southern India.

“This country has a problem [too much demand, too little money],” said Parsa. “I’m not interested in ideology, I’m interested in solving the problem. What I care about is my children, by the time they need the NHS, they can afford it; I care that my children to go a school that delivers the results some of our better schools do.”