Business news in brief

The latest news from the world of business

Rightmove points to market recovery

Online estate agent Rightmove fuelled hopes of a recovery in the housing market yesterday when it reported a 20 per cent jump in traffic to its website so far this year.

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The stronger level of interest from prospective buyers matched the trend seen last year. The FTSE 250 company said it was able to use the increase to persuade customers to spend more on buying additional advertising products.

That drove a 23 per cent rise in operating profits to £69.4 million, as the average revenue per advertiser lifted 17 per cent to £443 a month.

ANZ to lay off staff as profits fall 71%

Air New Zealand plans to cut hundreds of jobs after a 71 per cent drop in its half-year profit.

The national carrier announced yesterday that it plans to reduce its workforce by 441 people – 175 through lay-offs and the rest through attrition. The airline has a headcount of about 11,500.

It said its profit before tax for the six months ending December fell to NZ$33 million (£17.4m). The carrier blamed a weak global economy and the high cost of fuel for the result, but said its overall position remains strong and it will keep paying shareholders a dividend.

Cleland takes the top spot at Maplin

MAPLIN, the high street electronics chain, yesterday named former Somerfield managing director John Cleland as its new chief executive, replacing David O’Reilly.

Moving to Maplin, which is backed by private equity firm Montagu, will reunite Cleland with former Somerfield chairman John Lovering, who now chairs the Maplin board, having sold Somerfield to the Co-operative Group.

Cleland’s career has included spells at Asda, B&Q and most recently Esporta before the health club chain was taken over by rival Virgin Active.