City&FinanceBriefing A RECORD shopping spree in the lead-up to Ramadan has boosted sales in the West End this summer. Sales of perfume, a traditional gift at the end of the Muslim festival, are up 60% at Selfridges over the past four weeks compared with last year thanks to a surge in the number of wealthy Middle Eastern visitors. Nearly 150,000 are thought to have visited London in the past month to escape the scorch- ing heat of home. Shop assistants at the Oxford Street store said the beauty hall has been as busy as at Christmas, with extra emer- gency stock and gift wrap called in. London is used to an influx of shop- pers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE in July and August, but they are coming in greater numbers and spending more this year because the weak pound has made Britain better value than Paris or Milan. Middle Eastern visitors have also found the capital more welcoming this year after 100,000 store staff were put through the West End Knowledge, teaching them about the needs of shoppers from different cultures. Several shops have introduced later closing in the run- up to Ramadan to suit Middle Eastern custom- ers who are used to shopping in the evening at home when it is cooler. Inbrief West End sales surge to record for Ramadan Chelsealost41million on dodgy buy-to-lets Chelsea Building society today admitted it suffered losses of 41 million because of fraud by buy-to-let borrowers. The countrys fifth-largest building society said the fraud took place between 2006 and 2008, and was mainly a result of third- party professionals artificially inflating the value of property on which it lent buy-to-let mortgages. Chelsea -- which last year lost millions in Icelandic banks -- reported a pre-tax loss of 26 million for the first half of this year against profits of 23 million for the same period last year. Chief executive Richard hornbrook quit his job earlier this month after 28 years in the business. Finance director andrew Parson announced his resignation today. New boss stuart Bernau said he wants Chelsea to return to traditional building society values. Adnams toasts profits Adnams, the Suffolk brewer, announced profits today after suffering a very difficult year in 2008. Sales of cask beer were up 1% in the first half of this year, with the company reporting profits of 882,000 -- compared with a loss in the first half of last year. Chairman Jonathan Adnams said he was pleased with the much improved performance although the industry is still suffering from the continued closures of pubs. Australia Dollars 1.8898 Canada Dollars 1.7258 Denmark Kroner 8.2387 Eurozone Euro 1.1102 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1600 Japan Yen 148.7700 New Zealand Dollars 2.2760 South Africa Rand 12.2500 Sweden Kronor 11.3500 Switzerland Francs 1.6822 UAE Dirham 5.6989 United States Dollars 1.5791 TouRisT RATEs UP 11.62 at 4768.20 fTsE 100 doW jonEs nikkEi -$ UP 70.89 at 9350.05 DOWN 145.21 at 10,238.20 DOWN 0.3c at $1.6477 >>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 Rightmove calls an end to slump l HOUSING website Rightmove today signalled the market is on the mend as it bounced back from the toughest property conditions in a generation. The website, which carries adverts for some 90% of homes for sale in the UK, had the most visitors in its nine- year history on 10 August. But profits for the first six months of the year fell 8% to 18.2 million. Bags of value: the weak pound attracts Middle Eastern shoppers Booze and bed top shop list l SHOppeRS are taking to their beds with bottles of wine, according to High Street bellwether John Lewis, which noted a surge of interest in bedroom furniture in the week to 15 August. Sister chain Waitrose reported a 17% growth in wine sales, year on year. The recession is still hurting, with weekly sales figures 1.4% down on last year. oil prices sliding after rally blow l OIL prices slipped below $73 a barrel today as optimism over the strength of a global economic recovery faded. Crude was down 56 cents to $72.35 having hit a seven-week high of $73.24 earlier in the day. The rise was sparked by a plunge in oil stocks in the US, thought to be due to increasing demand. But it soon became clear it was down to a fall in imports. Vauxhall jobs decision looms l CAR workers at Vauxhall plants in Luton and Merseyside may learn the fate of their jobs today when the General Motors board meets to decide which of two bids to accept for its european arm Opel. A joint bid from Canadian car parts maker Magna and Russias Sberbank is favourite with 3.89 billion backing from the German government. BY SRI CARMICHAEL Top-sElling pERfumEs 1 Tom Ford Bois Marocain 50ml 100 2 Chanel Beige 200ml 160 3 Trish McEvoy range 50ml 49-63 4 Boadicea the Victorious 50ml 125 5 Robert Piguet Visa 50ml 54 30 Friday, 21 August 2009 London Lite 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.html