Scottish Business Briefing – April 11th 2013

Picture: Getty
Picture: Getty
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WELCOME to scotsman.com’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.

ECONOMICS

Scottish business recovery ‘on knife-edge’

ECONOMIC activity in Scotland ­remains touch-and-go, with markets such as tourism and retail fragile amid weak levels of demand. New figures out today from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) reveal muted signs of improvement, including a rise in confidence among manufacturers and a less-downbeat ­outlook in the construction sector.

Read all today’s economics news from scotsman.com

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

Innis & Gunn mark tenth birthday with first lager

INNIS & Gunn chief executive Dougal Sharp has toasted the tenth anniversary of his beer brand by launching its first lager. The Edinburgh-based outfit, which produces its beers at Tennent’s Wellpark brewery and Marston’s, launched its lager in kegs last night, with bottles going on sale in September.

Read all today’s food, drink and agriculture news from scotsman.com

INDUSTRY

Breedon aims to build its Scottish team in £34m deal

Construction materials ­supplier Breedon Aggregates is to build its presence in Scotland through the £34 million acquisition of a range of assets from rival Aggregate Industries. The purchase of seven ­ready-mixed concrete plants, six quarries, four asphalt sites and two concrete-block facilities will see about 150 workers join the group, which said it expects to grow its headcount further ­following the deal.

Shopfitter is boosted by NHS contract

AGM Group, the Port Glasgow-based office and shop fit-out specialist, has signalled its hope that confidence is returning to the commercial property market after winning a £400,000 contract in Glasgow. The company has been asked by contract administrator Capita Symonds to refurbish a former Job Centre Plus on Argyle Street for NHS Lanarkshire’s new Salus operation.

Read all today’s industry news from scotsman.com

RETAIL

Furniture millionaire plans to open first Scottish store

SELF-MADE millionaire Chris Dawson, dubbed the richest man in South-west England, has unveiled plans to open his first store in Scotland and create about 150 jobs. Dawson wants to turn the former Amadeus nightclub and Riva bingo hall at Queens Links Leisure Park in Aberdeen into a branch of The Range, his chain of DIY and furniture stores.

Marks and Spencer sales nudge ahead

Marks and Spencer sales rose slightly in the first three months of 2013, as good trading from its food business offset a fall in clothing sales. Like-for-like UK sales were 0.6% higher for the period compared with last year. UK food sales were 4% higher than a year ago, but general merchandising - which includes sales of clothing - was down by 3.8%.

Read all today’s retail news from scotsman.com