Tesco to raise store staff wages by 10.5 percent over two years
LONDON Tesco, Britain's biggest private sector employer, is to raise pay for hourly paid store staff by an inflation-beating 10.5 percent over the next two years, it said on Friday.
British books, newspaper and stationery retailer WH Smith Plc (SMWH.L) posted a 3.75 percent rise in first-half pretax profit as its travel business continued to outshine lagging high street or town centre retail operations.
WH Smith, which has more than 1,300 stores mostly in the UK, said profit before tax for the six months to Feb. 28 rose to 83 million pounds from 80 million last year.
Trading profit at its travel business, made up of outlets at airports, railway stations, motorway services, hospitals and workplaces, rose 11 percent to 39 million pounds, helped by an improvement in passenger numbers.
The group, which will celebrate its 225th anniversary this year, said sales fell 4 percent at its high street business, citing tough comparatives from last year, when sales were boosted by the "colour therapy" trend for adult colouring-in books.
Trading profit at its high street business remained flat at 53 million pounds.
(Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by David Holmes)
LONDON A group of four international investment funds offered to inject 1.6 billion euros (1.4 billion pounds) of fresh capital into two ailing Italian banks in Veneto at the end of May, sources told Reuters, but their plan was not pursued by Rome along with more recent approaches to be part of a rescue deal.
LONDON World stocks could be about to record their best start to a year since 1998, when global markets were recovering from the Asian crisis, while oil and the dollar are facing their worst first-half in years.