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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com 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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Currys and PC World see rising sales

Category : Business

Dixons Retail, the owner of Currys and PC World, reports growth in sales in the last 12 months.

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US retail sales inch up in April

Category : Business, World News

US retail sales rose unexpectedly in April, after falling back in the previous month.

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Eurozone retail sales fall in March

Category : World News

Retail sales in the eurozone fall for the second month in a row in March, according to the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat

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Argos, Homebase and Habitat owner reports profits down for fifth year

Category : Business

Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy hails ‘good outcome to … challenging year’ after 23% fall in profits

Profits at the group behind Argos, Homebase and Habitat have fallen for a fifth consecutive year as the economic downturn continues to take its toll on retailers.

Home Retail Group reported a 23% fall in profit before tax to £99m in the last 12 months, with revenues broadly flat at £5.48bn.

Despite what he described a “challenging year”, HRG’s chief executive, Terry Duddy, said the transformation of Argos from a catalogue to a digital retail business was progressing, with over half of sales made through new channels such as smartphone apps and the website.

“Against a backdrop of subdued consumer spending, the group has achieved a good outcome to what has been a challenging year,” said Duddy.

Homebase profits were washed away by poor weather last summer, with sales down nearly 5% and underlying profits halving to £11m. Argos returned to sales growth for the first time in five years, delivering a 2% rise in like-for-like revenues, and underlying profits recovered by 6% to £100m.

With nearly £400m of cash in the bank and no debt, the company is pushing ahead with a three-year investment plan announced last October. Homebase stores will be given a facelift, and will increasingly stock products from Habitat and Laura Ashley, including a recently created range of Habitat paints, wallpapers and tiles.

After trials in Ruislip and Solihull, a further 15 Homebase stores will be upgraded this year.

At Argos, the group is trialling a ‘hub and spoke’ distribution method to push stock out from its 120 largest stores to smaller local outlets, so that customers can order from a greater selection of items and collect them in under a minute in store. The trial will be expanded to the north-east before Christmas.

As household ownerships of tablets and smartphones increases, Argos shoppers are using in greater numbers to make purchases. Mobile commerce now represents 10% of overall Argos sales, internet sales account for 41% of the total, and online check and reserve is the fastest growing new channel.

“What we do see is where there are products which are hard to get hold of or hi-tech such as tablets the propensity for people to check and reserve is much higher,” said Duddy.

However, the group said its 1,073 stores remain a “core component” of its retail business, with 90% of all sales still involving a physical shop in some way.

Despite low consumer confidence, the group believes business will remain level in the coming year. “It’s steady as we go,” said Duddy. “Overall we are expecting sales to be flat or slightly up.”

A final payment of 2p will bring the annual dividend for the year to 3p, down from 4.7p last year. Shares rose 2.7% to 160p in morning trading.

Argos sales up in ‘challenging year’

Category : Business

Underlying sales at Argos have risen for the first time in five years, its parent company Home Retail Group reports.

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Amazon sales rise but profits fall

Category : World News

Online retail giant Amazon saw a fall in profits but rising sales in the first three months of the year, as it spends money on expansion.

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Twitter flash crash ‘is just noise’

Category : Business

Retail investors say they’re not worried about market structure issues following the so-called Twitter flash crash.

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VIDEO: Hugh’s review: Making sense of the stats

Category : Business, World News

The BBC’s Hugh Pym is joined by guests to discuss what this week’s inflation, retail and unemployment figures mean for the UK economy.

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Kipper Williams on retail sales and cold weather

Category : Business

‘Apparently, the British have only one word to excuse poor retail sales’

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Licht + Design Chooses Bridgelux as Premier Lighting Supplier

Category : World News

European Lighting Designer Upgrades All Retail Food and Product LED Fixtures With Bridgelux VERO Arrays

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