Cash-and-carry Booker in £14m trade buy
The UK's biggest cash-and-carry chain marked its latest rise in profits with a £14.5m deal for a fine dining supplier to the catering trade.
Booker's purchase of Ritter-Courivaud emerged as it said pre-tax profits jumped to £36.9m in the six months to September 10, up from £29.7m a year ago as total sales lifted 5.5% to £1.7bn. Booker is also paying £4m for Classic Drinks, which supplies pubs and clubs in the Midlands and north of England.
Fashion retailer eyes web growth
ONLINE fashion firm ASOS said overseas sales had more than doubled as it offset a tougher UK market. Sales growth in the UK slowed to 21% in the second quarter of its financial year, from 32% in the previous three months, but ASOS continues to set its sights on a global customer base as it puts the finishing touches to French and German sites due to launch by the end of October.
Pub industry gets OK in price probe
THE UK pub industry was again cleared by competition watchdogs after a reopened investigation into controversial "beer ties". The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) stuck by its initial findings last October that there was no evidence that so-called tied prices - where pub companies compel tenants to buy drinks from them - damage competition.
Quango axe will fall on helpline
As part of the axe falling on quangos, the government-backed Consumer Direct helpline will be taken over by the Citizens Advice Bureau. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is being stripped of its consumer protection role. The OFT is to be merged with the Competition Commission. In total, some 192 organisations will be abolished in the government's cost-cutting cull of quangos.
Transport experts to host seminar
THE annual Northern Ireland Transport Manager Seminar takes place on October 20 at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down. A spokesman for the Freight Transport Association said delegates would have important items to consider. "There are major changes due next year in Northern Ireland regarding vehicle operations, such as the introduction of operator licensing, so this seminar will be of interest to all businesses that operate commercial vehicles." Contact 02890 466699 for details.