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RETAIL sales have expanded at their fastest pace in more than two years, adding to hopes that the “feel-good” factor on the high street has helped Britain’s economic recovery extend into the third quarter. While the recent heatwave saw shoppers clamour for food, alcohol and summer clothing, economists said last month’s better-than-expected figures were also boosted by the royal birth and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory.
SUPERMARKET group Asda pledged to accelerate investment in stores and “click and collect” points after sales growth slowed in the second quarter. Britain’s second-biggest grocer saw like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT grow 0.7 per cent in the 12 weeks to 5 July. Despite widespread evidence that the economy has gained momentum, the number is lower than the 1.3 per cent rise seen in the first quarter of 2013.
A Scottish entrepreneur has predicted new technology will add decades to the life of the North Sea oil and gas industry. Iain Hutchison, founder of well engineering consultant Merlin Extended Reach Drilling, said new techniques would unlock prospects thought previously to be too risky to explore.
ANTRIM Energy has provided encouragement for small oil and gas firms by moving into profit after suffering hefty losses last year when it hit big problems in the North Sea. The company made a $930,000 (£597,000) profit from operations in the second quarter after starting production off the UK, where it has been grappling with soaring costs amid fierce competition from bigger fish.
CAERUS Resources, the Banchory-based recruitment specialist for the upstream oil and gas sector, has won three contracts expected to be worth a combined six-figure sum to the business. The new deals will see it manage the hiring needs of two major oil and gas operators for a broad spectrum of roles, including well construction, well management, petroleum engineering and sub-surface disciplines.
Full agenda now available. Featuring expert industry speakers including: Scott McLarty of Spirit AeroSystems, Alan Fraser of BAE Systems; Jim Houston of Woodward & Gavin Campbell of Bombardier Aerospace. See The Scotsman Conferences website for more details.
MEDIA, TECH & LEISURE
CINEMA operator Cineworld hopes that the release of the next films in the Hobbit and Hunger Games franchises will help it to top last year’s rush to see James Bond’s Skyfall. The Aim-quoted firm is pinning its hopes for the run-up to Christmas on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as it comes up against tough year-on-year comparisons with the most-successful Bond outing.
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