Scottish Business Briefing – July 19th 2013

Sports Direct will make a bumper payout to staff. Picture: PA

Sports Direct will make a bumper payout to staff. Picture: PA

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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.

RETAIL

Sports Direct staff to share £130m after profit surge

Thousands of staff at Sports Direct are to enjoy a bumper windfall of more than £70,000 each next month after the sportswear retailer delivered a jump in sales and profits. However, the chain scrapped plans to resurrect a contentious “super-stretch” bonus for its billionaire founder Mike Ashley, who earlier this year raised £100 million when he sold a 4 per cent stake in the business. (Scotsman)

Hope for retail sector as price cuts drive sales

Britain’s retail sector is making a tentative recovery with sales rising again last month, offering a glimmer of hope to beleaguered shop owners. Department store discounts helped drive a 0.2 per cent month-on-month increase in retail sales volumes in June, according to the Office for National Statistics. The rise builds on a 2.1 per cent hike in May and marks the first run of back-to-back growth in a year. (Scotsman)

ENERGY & UTILITIES

Deloitte: North Sea activity remains steady

Drilling activity in the North Sea remains steady despite a reduction in new wells, a report has suggested. Accountants Deloitte found drilling activity in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) was returning to healthy levels following a prolonged winter. Figures for the second quarter of 2013 suggested 18 wells were drilled, seven more than in the first quarter, though two less than the same period in 2012. (BBC)

Read all today’s retail news from scotsman.com

FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE

PATERSON Arran enjoyed a near-quadrupling of profits last year, as turnover surged on the back of strong demand for its branded shortbread and Cafe Bronte cookies. The food firm has increased its share of the shortbread market in Great Britain still further in the 52 weeks to June 9, building on the growth enjoyed by its Paterson’s brand in recent years. (Herald)

Read all today’s food and agriculture news here

INDUSTRY

Scottish construction boss looking to treble workforce

North construction boss Willie Gray said yesterday he wanted to treble his workforce in three years as confidence returned to the building sector. Mr Gray, managing director of William Gray Construction (WGC), said he believed potential clients such as local authorities were beginning to loosen the purse strings on capital projects again; presenting opportunities for his firm (P&J)

Read all today’s industry news from scotsman.com

TECHNOLOGY

Optos shares jump 23% as eye machine sales improve

TRADERS were drawn back to Optos yesterday after the Fife-based eye scanner maker reassured the market with positive third-quarter sales figures. Shares plunged by 17 per cent in March following a warning over “softer” sales of its devices, followed by a similar-sized drop in May after half-year profits collapsed by 90 per cent (Scotsman)

Read all today’s technology news from scotsman.com

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