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Business briefs: Robertson’s sells up | Sigma Capital | Ocado | Smith & Nephew

ONE of Scotland’s best known whisky shops, Robertson’s of Pitlochry, has been sold for an undisclosed sum by Allan and Isla Robertson, who are retiring after 50 years in the business.

The shop, in Atholl Road, is set in one of Scotland’s biggest tourism destinations.

Buyer Ewan McIlwraith is no stranger to the drinks industry having previously run a speciality drinks wholesale business and latterly worked in the multiple retailer arena.

He said: “This is a fantastic business with an incredible following.”

Christie & Co’s Edinburgh office handled the sale.

Smith & Nephew seeks new markets

Artificial joints maker Smith & Nephew is looking to new markets for a turnaround after growth in Europe and the US slowed in the final months of last year.

The company saw emerging market sales deliver 14 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, against just 1 per cent in the US and 2 per cent in Europe. It said trade in the west would continue to be poor in 2013, and has already reorganised to reduce reliance on those markets.

Fourth-quarter profits of $272 million (£173m) were up 2 per cent on an underlying basis.

Sigma swings to trading profit

Sigma Capital, the Aim-quoted property investment vehicle in which Sir Tom Hunter holds a 22 per cent stake, swung to a “small trading profit” during the second-half of its financial year after making progress with its urban regeneration schemes in the north of England.

It said full-year results were expected to be in line with its budgets, after revenues at its property division climbed 243 per cent year-on-year.

The firm has also beefed up its senior team, with regeneration specialists Graeme Hogg and Duncan Sutherland becoming main board directors.

Grocer Ocado edges towards first profit

Online grocer Ocado moved to the brink of its first annual profit yesterday as a boom in demand for deliveries triggered double-digit sales growth.

In better-than-expected full-year results, Ocado said it ended 2012 with strong momentum, with overall sales up 13.9 per cent to £731.9 million after it achieved a record 140,000 orders in its busiest week of the year. The company recorded a loss of £600,000 for the 12 months to December, compared with £2.4m the year before, and said it was set to benefit from the trend towards a home delivered weekly shop.

 

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