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.
Firms urged to adapt to a ‘new normal’
BUSINESSES need to adapt to a “new normal” of little or no growth rather than waiting for economic recovery, according to a corporate rescue specialist. Ken Pattullo, group managing partner for Scotland at Begbies Traynor, also argues that sectors such as pubs and high street retailers will continue to struggle this year due to oversupply issues (Scotsman).
ENERGY & UTILITIES
Oil prices forecast to deliver North Sea boost
Oil prices are forecast to remain at levels that should deliver good profits for producers and sustain strong investment in the North Sea this year but will likely mean continued pain at the petrol pump for motorists (Herald).
Port powered up for energy boom
Increased oil and gas activity in the Cromarty Firth is expected to bring millions of pounds to the Highland economy and support more jobs this year. Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) said oil and gas developments in the North Sea and west of Shetland boosted rig inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) work in 2012 and it expected the trend to continue this year (P&J).
FOOD, DRINK & AGRICULTURE
Waitrose gets a festive lift from party food & drink
Robust demand for Champagne and party food has fuelled another period of record trading at Waitrose, the upmarket grocery arm of John Lewis. The chain, which has 288 stores including four in Scotland with a fifth – in Stirling – due to open soon, said yesterday it had followed bumper Christmas sales with record trading in the run-up to the New Year holiday (Scotsman)
Fresh figures show UK’s building sector remains stuck in the mire
Construction activity contracted at the fastest rate in six months during December, according to a survey that paints a “depressing picture” of builders’ prospects for the year ahead. The latest construction purchasing managers’ index from Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply also revealed that housebuilders suffered the steepest decline in activity since December 2010, when snow brought work to a standstill (Scotsman).
Dollman steps down as Menzies pulls plug on Chicago cargo hub
PAUL Dollman, the long-standing finance director of airport services and distribution firm Menzies, is to leave the business which today revealed it will shut down its loss-making Chicago cargo handling operation after failing to find a buyer (Scotsman).