Business round-up: Seven key stories of the day

Tata Steel said 270 jobs will be lost at its Scottish plants. Picture: Andrew Milliigan/PA Wire
Tata Steel said 270 jobs will be lost at its Scottish plants. Picture: Andrew Milliigan/PA Wire
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Here are seven of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Tata Steel confirmed that its two Scottish plants in Motherwell and Cambuslang are to be “mothballed” with the loss of 270 jobs. The firm blamed a shift in market conditions caused by a “flood of cheap imports” particularly from China, a strong pound and high electricity costs.

Sainsbury’s was the only “big four” grocer to grow sales in the past three months, according to the latest snapshot of consumer spending from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel. Sales at the supermarket chain rose 1.1 per cent in the 12 weeks to 11 October, ahead of overall growth of 0.8 per cent for the sector.

John Lewis Partnership said Mark Price, the managing director of its Waitrose arm, is to leave the upmarket grocer next year amid reports he is being lined up to become the interim chairman of Channel 4. Waitrose retail director Rob Collins has been appointed to take over as boss of the employee-owned supermarket.

Energy services giant Wood Group won a $31 million (£20m) contract for a coalbed methane project in the US. The Aberdeen-based firm said the deal, awarded by Carbon Creek Energy, would create up to 65 jobs and secure more than 40 further roles at its PSN division.

Whitbread, owner of coffee chain Costa and hotels operator Premier Inn, reported a 13.8 per cent jump in underlying pre-tax profits to £291.3m for the first half of its financial year. But the group – which has about 48,000 staff – warned it faces extra costs of up to £20m a year from the new national living wage.

Retail group McColl’s unveiled plans to sell about 100 newsagents as it focuses on its convenience store business. The owner of Glasgow-based newsagent RS McColl, which has a total of 1,346 stores, said the branches are expected to be sold for no less than their asset value.

Oil and gas firm Enegi, which targets “marginal” fields in the North Sea, named former investment banker Nigel Burton as its new chief executive. Following the move, previous chief Alan Minty will remain on the Aim-quoted firm’s board as executive chairman to concentrate on strategy.