Friday business round-up: Five key stories of the day

Amazon is to create 2,500 jobs in the UK this year. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Amazon is to create 2,500 jobs in the UK this year. Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
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Here are five of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Online retail giant Amazon unveiled plans to create “several thousand” jobs across Europe, including some 2,500 in the UK. The expansion plans follow what the company described as a “record year for job creation”, with more than 10,000 permanent roles created in Europe during 2015, bringing its headcount across the continent to more than 40,000.

Britain’s accounting standards watchdog said it may conduct a full inquiry into KPMG’s audit of HBOS’s books in the run-up to the bank’s near-collapse in the 2008-9 financial crisis. The Financial Reporting Council is to hold a “preliminary investigation” into whether the auditor properly considered whether HBOS was a going concern in its 2007 accounts.

The gap site that used to house the McEwan’s brewery in Edinburgh is to be transformed into a complex of offices and apartments. Property investor BNP Paribas Real Estate has bought the 1.7 acre Fountainbridge site, known as Freer Street, for Fountainbridge Holdings, a newly formed joint venture between Amco Developments and Omni Developments.

Supermarket chain Asda cut the price of diesel to 97.7 pence per litre (ppl) amid tumbling oil prices. The retailer said the 2ppl reduction has taken diesel to its lowest price in more than six years. Unleaded remains at 99.7ppl.

Extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales saw a shopping surge for department stores, which raked in an almost 11 per cent increase in sales on the previous year. Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed overall sales last month were up 2.6 per cent compared to December 2014, but down by 1 per cent on November.