Business news in brief: John Lewis | De La Rue | Taste of Edinburgh

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John Lewis yesterday reported a “solid” rise in sales for the week ended 26 January despite snow disruption affecting many parts of the UK.

The employee-owned retailer described the 9.8 per cent year-on-year rise as “highly respectable”.

There was a near-44 per cent hike at

It pointed to strong gains at its stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Poole, Dorset.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “In the face of the snow, John Lewis reported impressively resilient sales growth.”

Property loan firm to float next week

THE property debt vehicle chaired by former Scottish Enterprise chief executive Jack Perry is set to join the main market of the London Stock Exchange after raising £104.6 million from institutional investors.

Shares in ICG-Longbow Senior Secured UK Property Debt Investments will start trading on Tuesday with the ticker “LBOW” after being priced at 100p during an initial placing. It will provide senior secured loans for UK commercial properties and aims to offer investors dividend income of around 6 per cent.

De La Rue shrugs off price pressures

Bank note printer De La Rue yesterday said that paper volumes would fall 18 per cent to 9,000 tonnes this year amid price pressure and competition from other manufacturers.

The group said it expected bank note volumes to be flat at 6.4 billion at its year end in March. But it noted that order intake had been satisfactory, with some previously delayed orders now received. Shares rose by 5.7 per cent to 953.5p.

The firm said: “The board remains confident of delivering the improvement plan which has a target 2013-14 operating profit in excess of £100 million.”

Taste of Edinburgh firm sold for £5m

The company behind the Taste of Edinburgh food festival has changed hands for more than £5 million.

Parent group Brand Events said Taste Festivals, which runs events in 16 other cities around the world, has been acquired by corporate hospitality specialist IMG Arts & Entertainment.

Along with an upfront payment of just under £5m, Brand Events – which will continue to run its Top Gear Live festivals – will receive £150,000 over the next two years, plus further payments depending on sales performance at Taste Festivals.