City&FinanceBriefing London Lite Wednesday, 29 July 2009 33 Inbrief Sun shines on Halfords sales l Halfords today reported a rise in sales as fine weather in June boosted demand for camping gear and travel equipment such as roof boxes for stay-at-home Brits. The car maintenance and cycling firm said like-for-like sales rose 1.3% in the last 13 weeks as it benefited from recession-hit families preparing for summer holidays in the UK. Dignity lifted by funerals spend l dEaTH is still good business for listed undertakers dignity. The funeral services company today posted a 3.2% jump in pre-tax profits to 22.8 million for the six months to 26 June on revenues up 5.5% at 95.6 million. The average spend per funeral rose slightly on last year as it said people were refusing to cut back on flowers and memorials despite the recession. Quintains hope for property l london developer Quintain Estates today said the commercial property market is finally showing signs of life, but warned prices could continue to fall. The regeneration specialist, which is developing land around Wembley stadium and Greenwich Peninsula, also revealed bad debts at the end of June were double what they were a year before at 580,000. Taxman loses out on City take l THE recession has seen the Citys tax bill more than halve over the past two years, it emerged today. City firms paid 32.5 billion to the taxman in the year to the end of March -- 35.3 billion less than the 67.8 billion in 2006/07. This follows multi-billion pound losses in the financial sector, job cuts and smaller bonuses. Australia Dollars 1.8844 Canada Dollars 1.6946 Denmark Kroner 8.1925 Eurozone Euro 1.1036 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1400 Japan Yen 149.5400 New Zealand Dollars 2.3270 South Africa Rand 11.9300 Sweden Kronor 11.6000 Switzerland Francs 1.6811 UAE Dirham 5.6884 United States Dollars 1.5761 TouriST raTeS UP 44.2 at 4573.04 fTSe 100 Dow joneS nikkei -$ DOWN 11.79 at 9096.72 UP 25.98 at 10,113.24 DOWN 0.42 at $1.6384 >>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 Debt-hit Baa loses 545m HeatHrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports owner Baa slumped to a loss of 545 million in the first six months of the year, as recession-hit travellers cut back on trips and its pension fund deficit ballooned. the debt-laden operator, which is owned by Spanish building group Ferrovial, also said that it was still in ongoing talks with several potential buyers of Gatwick, despite recent reports that the two main bidders had walked away. manganese black cabs take a turn into the red MANGANESE Bronze, the maker of the capitals black cabs, sank into the red in the first six months of the year as UK taxi sales slid despite a boost from the Governments car scrappage scheme. Up to a fifth of sales are currently coming from the scheme, chief executive John Russell said. The company sold 1035 vehicles in the period, 11.5% fewer than in the same period the previous year, despite a doubling in demand from overseas. Cab drivers are unwilling to commit to buying a new cab in the recession, Manganese said. But Russell reckons the future of the company lies in expanding abroad: We want the taxis to be everywhere in the world. Initial orders are from Europe and the Middle East. People are interested in the taxi itself, but they are also interested in the entire service. They even ask if we can export the taxi drivers too. Manganese made a pre-tax loss of 600,000 in the six months to 30 June, compared with a profit of 1.5 million in the same period the previous year. Russell added that sales have been very volatile recently, but that the company saw a slight pick-up in May and June. Manganese plans to return its UK arm to profitability through scrapping its contracts with its independent main dealers and expanding its own dealership network. The recall of the exploding TX4 taxis is now almost complete. aquascutums heavy losses in style wartrencHcoat warfare has broken out in regent Street, where coatmakers Burberry and aquascutum are fighting for sales in the toughest trading environment for decades. But while sales have continued to grow at Burberry, helped by an ad campaign featur- ing Harry Potter star emma watson, aquascutum has sunk into the red, and may be about to be sold to the chinese. the upmarket chains latest figures show revenue dropped 4% in a year, and losses trebled from 7.2 million to 22.8 million. It is the third year in a row that aquascutum has failed to make a profit, and bosses have warned the brand faces major uncertainty. By contrast, Burberry this month reported a 28% rise in revenue, up from 115 million to 148 million in its first quarter. retail experts say it is winning because it is seen as more fashionable. aquascutum, famed for providing trench- coats for British troops in the crimean war, is now owned by Japanese group renown. It has been up for sale for nine months. a spokesman said that the latest accounts covered 2007, and since then sales have increased by 12% at the companys flagship London store. BY lucY toBin Fashion victim: Aquascutum may be sold to the Chinese index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html