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

Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Edinburgh University has acquired the old Surgical Hospital on the Quartermile site

The University of Edinburgh bought the A-listed Surgical Hospital building at the city’s Quartermile regeneration scheme. Designed by architect David Bryce, the 120,000 square foot building will be transformed by the university into an “interdisciplinary hub” that will bring together business and public policy to address “societal and environmental challenges”.

Student housing specialist Unite secured planning consent for a £45m project in Aberdeen. The project, on Constitution Street, will consist of 600 bedrooms across three blocks, the tallest of which will be nine storeys. The city centre site, expected to deliver a development yield of about 9.3 per cent, is a short walk from the University of Aberdeen and is close to transport links connecting it to Robert Gordon University.

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A language software firm that uses technology developed at the University of Aberdeen trimmed its full-year losses following a jump in sales. Aim-quoted Arria NLG posted a pre-tax loss of £8.3 million for the 12 months to the end of September, down from £10.9m a year earlier, after its turnover almost doubled to £1.5m.

Housebuilding trade body Homes for Scotland promoted its director of planning to the role of chief executive. Nicola Barclay, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the housebuilding sector, takes up her new role in February, succeeding Philip Hogg who announced in October that he was leaving in favour of a “senior role” in the industry.

The end of production at the UK’s last remaining deep coal mine will take place in a week’s time. UK Coal confirmed that Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire is set to close on 18 December. The 450 miners who work at the pit – known locally as the Big K – will receive severance packages at 12 weeks’ of average pay.

Department store chain John Lewis reported a 3.5 per cent rise in weekly sales, helped by the remnants of the Black Friday shopping frenzy. However, all three of its stores in Scotland continued to suffer lower sales, with its Edinburgh branch witnessing the steepest decline north of the Border of 9.9 per cent.