Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Sainsbury's reported pre-tax profits

Following on from the “price war” between supermarkets, J Sainsbury (the third largest supermarket in the UK) has beaten City forecasts in its first results since Delta Two, the Qatari investment, walked away from a takeover bid, with pre-tax profit growing by 20% during the first six months of the year. The supermarket group reported pre-tax profit up from £194 million to £232 million for the six months to October 26.

Like-for-like sales at the supermarket, which excludes gains from new stores opened in the first half of the year, rose by 4% after Sainsbury's reported a 5.1% rise in the first quarter of the year which slowed to 3% in the 16 weeks to October 6. Overall sales increased by 2.8% to £9.9 billion. (source: Timesonline)

Although this might seem like a new idea, it has actually been born earlier this year but is opening for service today. The newest addition to Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's (easy Group founder) (pictured) stable of bright orange and white brands opens its door today, offering cut-price office space in the upmarket Kensington area of London. Sir Stelios, is aiming easyOffice at the growing number of young entrepreneurs.

According to research by Barclays, more than a quarter of a million new businesses were set up in the first half of 2007, up 7% from last year and Sir Stelios wants to capitalise on that. Sir Stelios's target market, the under-25s, grew the fastest, setting up 20,000 businesses in the past 12 months, up 15% year on year.

In a statement, the easyJet founder said “the idea was to get people with business ideas on their feet. Over the years I have met many people who start their business from their bedroom or kitchen table. They reach a stage where they need three things: an address which is not residential; a place to meet clients, other than the local Starbucks – and once they are ready to hire staff, they can't really tell them to start reporting for work at their own home."

Sir Stelios was quick to dismiss suggestions that this was a venture into commercial real-estate, saying: "We are a booking engine, not a property company ... In fact, I am just using the upstairs of the easyInternetCafe site in Kensington for the pilot phase." The Kensington High Street site will have offices available for as little as £99 a week. (The Independent)

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