City&FinanceBriefing Revival signs buy more time for the boss 36 Wednesday, 1 July 2009 London Lite Inbrief Sales picture gets brighter at M&S Sir Stuart rose today made an attempt to calm shareholder anger at Marks & Spencer with better-than-expected first-quarter sales from the High Street giant. Like-for-like sales were down 1.4% in the 13 weeks to last Saturday, far better than the 5.9% slump seen last year and the 2.5% forecast in the City. M&S shares rose 5p to 311p. They peaked near 750p in mid-2007. Sales of general merchandise fell 2.4% in the first quarter, against a 6.9% drop last year while food sales slipped 0.5% after a 5% drop last year. The figures were published a week ahead of the annual meeting, at which Sir Stuart is expected to face shareholder anger over the fall in the M&S share price. The improvement in the food division marked some sort of victory for rose and his former PA Mark Dixon, who was appointed to take charge of food in March last year and has since introduced the Dine in for 10 meal- for-two range and Wise Buys. However, the figures marked the seventh quarterly sales fall in a row. Last year full- year sales plunged 40% from 1 billion to 604 million. retail analyst Nick Bubb of Pali international forecast profits of 460million this year, adding: i wouldnt get carried away. it is still going to be a tough year and profits will fall a long way further. BY HUGO DUNCAN National Express fight pledge as key line lost NATIONAL Express today said it will go to war with the Government after the Department for Transport sacked it from the East Coast Main Line out of Kings Cross and threatened to strip it of its Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street franchises. In a day of turmoil for National Express, its crisis deepened as chief executive Richard Bowker, who signed up the group to its overly ambitious East Coast contract, quit. Bowker, a former Government rail czar, is to take up a lucrative role to build a 20 billion rail network in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. Transport minister Lord Adonis today said he has sacked National Express from the East Coast Main Line after it refused to honour its commitments to pay back forecast excess profits of 1.4 billion over seven years. National Express had told the minister it would have to renege on its commitments as the Kings Cross business has lost 20 million over the past six months as business folk quit the first-class carriages and leisure passengers boycott National Expresss rip-off walk-on fares. But Adonis said he could also strip National Express of its East Anglia services and c2c line to south Essex. He added: The Government believes it may have grounds to terminate these franchises. National Express hit back, saying leading counsel has told it that the DfT cannot exercise a cross-default and strip it of its other franchises. Daisys founder gets 81m A BuSiNeSS telecoms company backed by Sir Philip Green when it was launched two years ago is coming to AiM, turning its founder into a multi-millionaire. Matthew riley, founder of Daisy, won a competition that gave him an interest-free loan and mentoring from Green. Today he will collect 30 million in cash and 51 million of shares as his firm Daisy is reversed into AiM- listed Freedom4. riley becomes chief executive of the business. Australia Dollars 1.9476 Canada Dollars 1.8342 Denmark Kroner 8.3775 Eurozone Euro 1.1284 Hong Kong Dollars 12.2800 Japan Yen 151.9200 New Zealand Dollars 2.3785 South Africa Rand 12.1200 Sweden Kronor 12.2400 Switzerland Francs 1.7186 UAE Dirham 5.7547 United States Dollars 1.5947 TouriST raTeS UP 61.00 at 4310.58 fTSe 100 Dow joneS nikkei -$ DOWN 82.38 at 8447.00 DOWN 18.51 at 9939.93 DOWN 0.3c at 1.6427 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available northern rock in 3bn plea l NortherN rock today said it will need up to 3 billion more from the taxpayer once it splits into a so-called good bank, which can be sold off, and bad bank, which will be almost certainly kept by the treasury. But sources close to the nationalised bank played down stories from Westminster that the good bank could be sold to tesco as early as this autumn. lloyds lining up Bischoff as chief l LLoyds Banking Group today refused to confirm that veteran banker sir Win Bischoff will replace sir Victor Blank as its next chairman. Bischoff, 67, who until February was chairman of Citigroup, has emerged as UK Financial Investments favourite to oversee the merger of Lloyds and hBos. UKFI holds the Governments 43% stake in Lloyds. High street takes onfashionweek l oxFord street will host the first high street Fashion Week this autumn. the event aims to make the biannual London Fashion Week, which is usually the preserve of models, celebrities and buyers, more accessible to the public. stores on the street will offer promotions and hold champagne receptions and beauty workshops from 7 to 11 september. Sterling slides on new worries lsterLING plunged again today as investors spooked by the state of the UK economy continued to sell. the pound was down 0.3 cents against the Us dollar to $1.6427 and also fell against the euro, which was up 0.38p to 85.65p. the sell-off followed yesterdays figures which showed the UK economy contracted 2.4% in the first quarter of the year. Play Monopoly at MEcasino! Monopoly at MEcasino! 150 FREE! Play The all new 9-line slot with Jackpots reaching 4,000! PLUS 100% sign up bonus up to 150! Please play responsibly. Visit Players must be over 18. Monopoly at MEcasino! 150150150 PASS GO AND GET Make a deposit between 10 and 150 and we will DOUBLE it. Sign up today and enter the promotional code monopoly for a free 2 trial! 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