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.
‘Not an easy Christmas,’ says M&S boss Bolland
EMBATTLED Marks & Spencer posted its tenth consecutive quarter of falling clothing sales today, turning the screw on chief executive Marc Bolland and his turnaround strategy for the retailer. He admitted it had been a “challenging quarter” for clothing, footwear and homewares. “I must confess that this was not an easy Christmas,” he said. Bolland, who took over the helm of the 130-year-old retailing icon in 2010, insisted that a vicious price war had been partly to blame.
Biggest Scots firms see ‘little growth in profit’ says Business Insider
The biggest companies with Scottish bases saw little growth in profit, according to a detailed analysis of their most recent accounts. The regular assessment for Business Insider magazine showed performance was “frustratingly flat”, according to editor Alasdair Northrop. Of its top 500 firms, 232 reported a fall in profits, compared with 184 the previous year. (BBC)
Entrepreneurial activity boosted by angel groups
SCOTLAND’s business angel groups have made a major contribution to entrepreneurial activity in the country, an expert study has shown. Academics from the business schools at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities found groups of angels investors had played a key role in ensuring that wealth amassed in Scotland was used to support potential high-growth firms in the country.
The Digital Fabric of Scotland: The Challenge of stitching it together - 29th January – Edinburgh
Join us and the Scottish Council on Archives as we bring the first event of its kind to Scotland. Fiona Hyslop MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and Annelies van den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History are among some of the expert speakers that will aim to raise awareness of digital records among key decision makers across different sectors, help build a Scottish digital records community to collaborate on finding the best technological solutions and securing investment and examine the options for ensuring long term access to valuable digital resources. Visit The Scotsman Conferences website for more details.
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Aulds ‘on improved footing’ despite losses
INDEPENDENT baker Aulds has remained stuck in the red in its most recent financial year but signalled cost-cutting measures and a partnership with Scotmid have put it on a better footing. Accounts filed at Companies House for Aulds Holdings showed a pre-tax loss of £692,742 in the 12 months to March 31, although that was an improvement from the £867,404 loss in the prior financial year.
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TRANSPORT & INDUSTRY
Home building in Scotland continuing to improve says Rics survey
House building has been showing continued signs of revival, according to a construction industry survey. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said that its members in Scotland were also seeing improved infrastructure work. More of them said they expected to see an improvement this year, with fewer anticipating a decline. However, the industry body warned of skill shortages as demand for construction workers picks up. (BBC)
MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE
Menzies secures £180m distribution contracts
John Menzies, the Edinburgh-based baggage handler and newspaper wholesaler, has secured magazine distribution deals worth £180 million a year. The firm said its distribution division has successfully renegotiated contract terms with existing clients Frontline and Seymour, two of the UK’s largest magazine distributors. David McIntosh, managing director of Menzies Distribution, said both agreements run until 2020. (Scotsman)