British telecoms giant BT Group is going to double the number of households that will be able to use its ultra-fast broad band network.
BT said that the fibre-to-the-premises, which offers download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, will be made available to at least 2.5 million UK households by 2012.
Steve Robertson, BT Openreach CEO, said, “Today's announcement will help the UK climb the speed league tables.”
Previous year the company had announced its plans to run past 1 million households.
Ted Baker Plc, UK fashion brand, reported a drop of 18.4 per cent in its pre-tax profit for the first six months of the year, but said its performance was better than expected owing to the strong performance of its UK arm.
Ted Baker's pre-tax profit dropped to £6 million as compared with £7.4 million last year.
The group said its retail sales soared by 15 per cent in the first half ended August 15. But, sales of menswear plunged by 105 per cent to £39.7 million.
The largest recruitment firm of Britain, Hays PLC, reported on Thursday a fall of 37 per cent in net fees for the fiscal first quarter of the year.
Hays said that net fees from the permanent placement business plunged by 52 per cent, while net fees from the temporary placement business fell by 27 per cent in the quarter ended September versus a year earlier.
In the private sector business, Hays suffered a fall of 47 per cent in net fees, while net fees from its public sector business slipped by 13 per cent.
Microsoft said the information technology industry in UK would flourish over the succeeding four years, generating roughly 80,000 jobs.
Steve Ballmer, the chief of Microsoft, said that over £50 billion would be spent on IT during the current year and will be increased by 1.8 per cent per year over the next four years.
Mr. Ballmer further said that almost 2,500 new businesses will be created in the IT sector, which will provide work to about 78,200 people.
His views were reinforced by a report published by a research company IDC.
Manufacturer of the classic London taxi, Manganese Bronze, has warned that it might slash jobs, citing plunging profits due to falling demand for its vehicles.
Black cab maker Manganese Bronze said its overall vehicle sales for the period of eight months to August had plunged by 9.1 per cent to settle at 1,207 vehicles.
Speaking on the issue, John Russell, company’s CEO, said, “Trading in the UK continues to be negatively impacted by the recession.”
Willie Walsh, CEO of the British Airways, expects to finish the proposed merger of BA with Iberia before the end of 2009.
The merger with Iberia was proposed previous summer but the deal has stalled since than.
Speaking on the issue of the Spanish flag carrier, Iberia, Mr. Walsh said, "I would hope that it could be done by the end of the year. It's gone on for far too long to be honest but that has not distracted us from what needs to be done."
Britain's leading nightclub operator, Luminar, warned that it could miss full-year profit projections as soaring rate of unemployment has been keeping people away from its clubs.
The company, which owns 89 clubs, said its overall sales plunged 5.9 per cent in the period of 26 weeks to August 27. Luminar blamed the high and rising level of unemployment among its core visitors of young people for its current poor performance. It is worth mentioning here that one in every six is out of work in among 18 to 24 year olds.
Denis O'Brien, the second-largest shareholder in Independent News & Media, has tabled another plan of investing €100 million of his own money in return for gaining control of the company.
The Independent News & Media is getting ready for restructuring of its debt after showing its inability to pay off a €200 million in May.
Under the restructuring plan, bondholders will get a 45 per cent stake of the company, while 26 per cent stake owned by Mr. O'Brien, will get diluted by about 50 per cent.
The private equity group, Blackstone, sold half of its 57 per cent stake in the Cineworld, in a move that dragged shares in the British cinema chain down by 9 per cent. Blackstone sold the 50 per cent of its stake in the Cineworld, which runs 75 sites in Britain, for around £62.9 million.
Cineworld, which was created in 1995, said its half-year profits soared to £11.6 million, up by 33 per cent as compared with £8.7 million last year.
The so-called 'notspots' in UK, where the broadband service is still a dream, are going to get an access to broadband via Broadband Enabling Technology initiated by BT.
At present, approximately 140,000 homes come under the jurisdiction of notspots and BT will bring up to 2MB broadband to these places.
Speaking on the topic, John Small, MD of service delivery at BT, said, 'By rolling out BET, we can help customers and assist the Government to realise its aim for a universal 2Mbps broadband service."
The US-based smartphone manufacturer, Palm, unveiled its Pre at a UK press event but could not become the star of attraction.
In addition, uncertainty about the release of Palm Pre in UK made the event a damp experience.
O2 that grabbed the exclusive right to provide network to Pre, has assured that the much-awaited smartphone would be available in the UK before Christmas.
Two GSM Palm Pre models that were reveled at the event were the pre-production models. The company did not allow photography of the models.
The Sony Ericsson 'Xperia Pureness' - that's the first phone to bypass the usual manufacturer-operator partnership for distribution, and hit the retail market straightway when it debuts in the UK in November, well In time for Christmas shopping!
Primark's founder Arthur Ryan is going to step down as chief executive, handing the reigns of the budget fashion firm over to Primark's chief operating officer Paul Marchant.
Associated British Foods that owns Primark said Arthur Ryan will become the chairman of the firm that is operating190 stores.
When contacted, Arthur Ryan said, “As chairman, I am looking forward to working with Paul to ensure the ongoing success and future development of the business.”
As many as 2,000 jobs are likely to come under axe as Vauxhall will most probably undergo restructuring under the guidance of its new owner Magna International.
The threat to jobs came after the US car-manufacturer General Motors declared that it would sell 55% stake in Opel and Vauxhall to a Canadian car-parts supplier, Magna International.
Under the deal Magna International will share its 55% stake with, Sberbank, the Russian publicly-owned bank.
Privately-owned department store, House of Fraser is expecting sales of its own-label brands to increase by four-fold after its recent decision of moving away from branded-concessions.
Don McCarthy, House of Fraser's chairman, said, "At the end of the day, we are not communists - and it is not something we are going to keep forever."
House of Fraser said it had high hopes that its own-label sales would account for around 40% of turnover as compared with 9% in 2008.
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