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Closures loom at struggling House of Fraser

Closures loom at struggling House of Fraser

Business
The struggling department store chain House of Fraser (HoF) has drafted in advisers to examine options for accelerating its restructuring, raising the prospect of further shop closures at a dire time for the British high street.Sky News has learnt that KPMG has been asked by the Chinese-owned company to explore the possibility of a formal process called a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), months after it informally asked store landlords to agree to big rent cuts.The news of KPMG's appointment, which is understood to have been signed off in recent days, will fuel expectations that a substantial number of HoF's 59 outlets across the UK are facing the axe.Sources close to the company said it was not certain that HoF and its shareholders would pursue a CVA but conceded that one was a possib...
Debenhams half-year profits slump by 85%

Debenhams half-year profits slump by 85%

Business
Debenhams has reported an 85% slump in half-year profits after sales were battered by the Beast from the East and heavy restructuring costs also took their toll.The department store chain said almost 100 of its stores temporarily closed as a result of the extreme weather conditions earlier this year.Pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to 3 March collapsed to £13.5m compared to £87.8m in the same period last year, with like-for-like sales down 2.2%.The group cut its interim dividend by half to 0.5p. Shares fell 10% in early trading.Debenhams said the weather impact alone was estimated to have accounted for a 1% fall in sales - with the freezing conditions coming at a time when the business was promoting its "new season spectacular".The profits slump was also partly due to one-off shake-up cost
UK inflation falls to lowest in a year

UK inflation falls to lowest in a year

Business
UK consumer price inflation fell in March to 2.5%, the lowest rate in a year, according to the Office for National Statistics.It fell from 2.7% in February after prices for women's clothing rose at a slower pace than last year.The data appears to show that the squeeze on UK households may be coming to an end as wages rise.Despite the inflation fall, economists still expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates in May. According to the most recent figures, UK wages rose by 2.8% in February. The Bank is forecast to lift the interest rate to 0.75% from 0.5% next month.Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that while he expected the Bank to proceed with the increase, he believes the Monetary Policy Committee will move slowly.He said: "Wage growth remains surprisingly...
Inflation slides to lowest level for a year

Inflation slides to lowest level for a year

Business
The UK's cost of living has unexpectedly fallen to its lowest level in a year amid a slower rise in the price of women's clothing. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said consumer prices declined to 2.5% in March from 2.7% in February.Most economists had expected inflation to remain unchanged."Inflation fell to its lowest rate in a year, with women's clothing prices rising slower than usual for this time of year," Mike Hardie, head of inflation at the ONS, said."Alcohol and tobacco also helped ease inflation pressures, with tobacco duty rises linked to the Budget not appearing this March, thanks to its new autumn billing."Growth in the price of goods leaving factories continued to slow, due mainly to a smaller increase in the price of food products compared with this time last year."...
Lockheed Martin to upgrade special operations C-130 aircraft

Lockheed Martin to upgrade special operations C-130 aircraft

Business
April 17 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for upgrades on special operations C-130 fixed wing aircraft, along with engineering and support services.The deal, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, is potentially valued at $ 18 million under the terms of a indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity with firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee agreements on varies line items.Known officially as the MC-130H Combat Talon II, the contract enables Lockheed Martin to provide "operational flight program upgrades" on the aircraft, in addition to, "systems engineering and integration support activities encompassing multiple third-party systems sources," according to a Defense Department contract announcement.Work on the contract will occur in Marietta, Ga., and is expected to b...