The retail sector has sector has had a decent month, in part due to many of us rushing out to buy garden furniture and “summer stocks” due to the warm weather. Sainsbury’s seem to have encouraged us all to spend more with themas we tried something new. They saw an increase of 12.8% in pre-tax profits for Q1. Sales were up by 7.1% to £23bn.
The Bankers continue to have mixed fortunes with yours and mine. Royal Bank of Scotland announced a Q1 net loss of £528m, which was blamed on the Irish, whose luck certainly seems to have run out. You may have also picked up that the Banks are now dropping their challenge to the High Court ruling to resolve the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal. As a result they are all starting to set aside funds for hefty payouts. Lloyds for example, set aside £3.2bn for compensation, which merely goes to show the depth and scale of the scandal.
Perhaps as a result of renewed interest in the Eurovision Song Contest and Dima Bilan winning in 2008 for the first time, the Russians have taken him at this word (“Believe”) and decided to take a more active involvement in the music scene. Well, probably not, the music industry is just that – an industry and Access Industries recently paid $3.3bn in an all cash payment for the world’s third largest music firm – Warner Music. Warner have a number of artists on their label including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Eric Clapton, Seal, Genesis, Neil Young, The Bee Gees and James Blunt.
Some of you may have had the Skype meeting experience with me – well Microsoft have stumped up a huge $8.5bn in cash to buy Skype, making this Microsoft’s largest purchase. The irony will not be lost on PC users – their investor relations webpage takes ages to load up – or was this simply my own Internet connection? Probably me, or rather my Internet connection.
Returning to Europe, but remaining with a global brand leader, BMW has announced Q1 profits before tax of €1,812m up from €508m for Q1 in 2010. This is a significant increase. In Q1 BMW sold  382,758 BMWs (so not surprising that you see so many around!) you may remember that they now also own MINI and sold 60,860 of those and 723 Rolls Royce cars. These are global sales figures. Mind you orders are one thing, the world of motoring has a few supply issues at the moment with inevitably some tiny but vital component coming from Japan. Orders are now expecting fairly lengthy waiting periods, so if you are wanting a new car, you may have to wait.. much like most of the time spent in it if you ever drive in London or on the M25.
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