Thursday business round-up: Six key stories of the day

Asda said its 'wonky' veg boxes will help cut down on discarded produce
Asda said its 'wonky' veg boxes will help cut down on discarded produce
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Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

It doesn’t Asda be perfect

Supermarket chain Asda started selling boxes of “wonky” vegetables in 29 of its stores across Scotland in a bid to cut the amount of discarded produce. The grocer said the move follows a successful trial south of the Border and will result in at least 500 tonnes of “waste” fruit and vegetables being taken from farmers and sold in its branches by the end of the year. Each “family-sized” 5kg box sells for £3.50 – about a third cheaper than standard lines – and will contain staples such as cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, leeks, onions, peppers, parsnips and potatoes.

Brewing up a storm

Beer maker BrewDog claimed to have become the number one craft brewery in the UK after toasting soaring sales. The Aberdeenshire firm, which has launched more than 40 bars globally since its formation in 2007 and now exports to 55 countries, said turnover rose by 52 per cent last year to £45 million. It hailed UK sales growth of 130 per cent last year and said its “stratospheric rise” over the past five years had resulted in it shipping the equivalent of 41 million bottles of beer in 2015.

Lochside luxury

A lochside retreat set in two acres of land – and boasting a four-bedroom luxury lodge, four further individual lodges, a private beach and a complimentary mooring – came on the market with a price tag in excess of £2.5m. Cornerstone Business Agents, the firm selected to market Ardlui Retreat on the banks of Loch Lomond, said the site offered a “unique business or residential opportunity”, adding that it expected “global interest” from potential buyers.

Malmaison makeover

The owner of Edinburgh’s Malmaison has completed the majority of a £1.2m refurbishment of the premium hotel, as part of a £5m upgrade of the group’s Scottish portfolio. The Leith hotel unveiled its new-look reception, and Chez Mal brasserie and bar, with the revamp described as a “fantastic step up” by Paul Roberts, chief executive of the Malmaison Hotel du Vin group.

Float for FreeAgent?

The chief executive of FreeAgent said the online accounting software company is considering flotation as it looks to finance further growth. Ed Molyneux, a former RAF pilot who co-founded the Edinburgh firm in 2007, said a public listing is one of “a bunch of different options” that will be examined when FreeAgent seeks to raise additional cash towards the end of this year.

Blackadders goes forth

Tayside legal firm Blackadders is pushing west after agreeing a deal to take on the well-established Glasgow practice Boyle Shaughnessy. Billed as a “merger”, and due to take place at the start of April, the combined entity will have 25 partners and more than 250 staff, trading under the Blackadders banner.