AA Group says legal battle with former boss Bob Mackenzie will cost it £1m

Former boss sacked over physical altercation with director is suing company for £225m in damages
The AA revealed on Tuesday that it expects its legal battle with former executive chairman Bob Mackenzie to cost it up to £1m.
Mr Mackenzie was sacked last August, with the company citing “gross misconduct” as the reason for his dismissal. It later emerged he had been in a physical altercation with Michael Lloyd, the head of AA’s insurance division, at a hotel bar in July 2017.
The former chairman has filed a claim with the high court seeking an injunction to retain his management value participation shares and up to £225m in damages from the company.
AA said it “has not made a provision for these amounts as the group expects to be successful in rigorously defending these claims.
“However, the group will incur legal costs of approximately £1m to defend these claims during the next two financial years which it would seek to recover from Bob Mackenzie when the litigation concludes,” t..

Millions of millennials will never own homes so it's time to make renting work better

The rules on renting are tilted too far towards landlords and date from a time when living in private rented accommodation was likely to be a temporary state of affairs
Theresa May’s ‘British dream’ of home ownership is an impossible one for millions of millennials.
According to the Resolution Foundation's 'Home Improvements' report, on current trends up to half could be renting into their 40s and a third by the time they claim their pensions. So, permanently.
Even now, 40 per cent are renting privately at age thirty, double the rate for Generation X, and four times that of the baby boomers.
Read more Generation Rent: London to become a city of renters by 2025, says PwC Meet generation rent: they'd like to hire a new wardrobe every day Can generation rent make their accommodation feel like home without It isn’t just that the cost of a deposit for a new home has spiralled as prices have headed skywards: access to social housing has fallen sharply at the sam..

Vauxhall could close more than 100 UK dealerships amid falling car sales

Company is renegotiating franchise agreements with dealerships in bid to improve profits
Vauxhall will cut back its dealership network amid rapidly falling UK car sales and changing consumer behaviour.
The company will terminate contracts with all of its 326 dealerships and renegotiate them in order to make its network more profitable. Vauxhall’s European sister company Opel is carrying out a similar exercise across the Continent.
The exact number of Vauxhall dealerships that will survive in the UK is not known but is likely to be between 200 and its current figure, the company said.
Read more Vauxhall 'could shut dealerships', threatening thousands of jobs Vauxhall’s sales plunged by more than a fifth last year and were down 18 per cent in the first three months of this year. Across the industry, UK car sales as a whole slipped 5.6 per cent in 2017.
Consumers now do far more of their research into making a new car purchase online, lessening the demand for dealerships..

UK wages rise faster than inflation for first time in a year

Wages grew faster than inflation for the first time in almost a year in February and the jobless rate fell to just 4.2 per cent according to the latest official data.
The Office for National Statistics reported that wages were up 2.8 per cent in the three months to February on a year earlier, higher than the 2.7 per cent rate of consumer price inflation over that period.
Real wages turned negative in April 2017 as inflation – due to the plunge in the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote – jumped.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in February ticked down to 4.2 per cent, from 4.3 per cent previously.
However, the wages data was weaker than the 3 per cent growth that many City of London analysts had anticipated, sending sterling down to $1.4338.
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Pound sterling hits post-Brexit referendum high as UK prepares for next round of EU talks

Strong pound pushed FTSE 100 down on Tuesday morning
The pound hit its highest level against the dollar since the Brexit vote in June 2016, rising to $1.4364 by mid-morning.
Sterling’s surge has been attributed to optimism ahead of wages and unemployment data, released on Tuesday morning, weakness in the dollar, and reduced concerns around the possibility of a hard Brexit as the UK and EU get ready for the next round of negotiations.
Read more Sterling rises as Mark Carney signals hawkish stance on rates The strong pound pushed the FTSE 100 down by three points at the open.
Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets, said: “Traders have pushed the currency higher ahead of the important upcoming wages and unemployment data, perhaps there is a real optimism amidst them.
“We do think it is a bold move because most of the bets are based on the hopes that the health of the job market would permit the Bank of England to adopt a more aggressive stance towards their monetar..

Huawei, Failing to Crack U.S. Market, Signals a Change in Tactics

Huawei, Failing to Crack U.S. Market, Signals a Change in Tactics Photo As the Chinese telecom giant Huawei roars ahead in the rest of the world, roadblocks in Washington have thwarted its attempts to build a presence in the United States. Credit David Paul Morris/Bloomberg SHANGHAI — For Huawei’s longstanding efforts to crack the United States market, it’s the end of an era.
Last week, the Chinese telecom giant laid off five American employees, including its top liaison to the United States government, William Plummer, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Plummer, who was with the company for almost eight years, became the face of Huawei’s Sisyphean efforts to win over Washington.
Bedeviled by concerns about its close relationship to the Chinese government, Huawei has spent much of the last decade lobbying to be allowed to sell its communications equipment to American telecom carriers. Mr. Plummer emerged as a highly visible representative during a series of congressional..

JD Sports shares pop as retailer reports record yearly profit

Retailer chasing further growth with recent acquisition of leading US brand
JD Sports shares rose more than 6 per cent in early trading after the group reported what it said were “record results” for the year to 3 February.
Pre-tax profit rose 24 per cent to £294.5m, from £238.4m the year before, while revenue increased by 33 per cent to £3.2bn from £2.4bn.
Read more JD shows up rival Sports Direct with US deal JD Sports unveils $550m deal to buy US athleisure business Finish Line JD Wetherspoon posts rise in profits but warns of tough year ahead The company said like-for-like in-store sales rose 3 per cent, but the lion’s share of sales came from its website, with growth of 30 per cent.
“This is an excellent result demonstrating our capacity for continuing growth in both existing and new markets, and the strength of our offer in store and online,” said JD Sports boss Peter Cowgill.
“The investments we have made over a number of years in developing our multichannel propositio..

Primark owner ABF says sugar business to blame for 30% drop in profit

Group plans to open nine new Primark stores across the globe in second half of the year
Associated British Foods (ABF), the owner of discount fashion giant Primark, has reported a 30 per cent drop in profit despite increased sales across almost all its businesses during the first half of the current financial year.
The group said decline in its sugar operation was to blame for the dip in overall pre-tax profit, which fell to £623m from £895m in the first half of 2017. Shares dropped more than 1.7 per cent at the open.
Read more Primark: The corporate symbol of a discount Brexit Britain? ABF owns AB Sugar, which has been struggling for some time due to falling sugar prices as a result of the EU removing sugar sales quotas. On Tuesday, the company reported operating profit from the sugar business fell 27 per cent to £90m in the 24 weeks to 3 March, while revenue dropped 13 per cent to £938m.
Primark delivered an 8 per cent rise in revenue, to £3.5bn, and a 6 per cent increase in..