City&FinanceBriefing 40 Wednesday, 9 September 2009 London Lite Inbrief Boom is back as retailers call an endtotheslumpRETAILERS say the High-Street slump is over and economists say the recession is at an end. House of Fraser said shoppers are loosening purse strings and rediscovering their zest for fashion. The department store chain made a profit of 10.7 million in the last six months, a 16% improvement on last year. Although sales slumped 6.2% in the first three months of the year as the recession bit, the last three months have been positive, up 0.5%. An upbeat chief executive John King said: Retail in general has been pretty resil- ient this year and it is getting better each week. Margins are up as well. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research think tank added that it reck- ons the recession ended in May. It also said that growth in the third quarter of the year should be a healthy 0.4%. And Britains biggest sports retailer, Sports Direct, continues to flog tracksuits and train- ers by the truck load. It now expects to make profit of at least 150 million this year, up from the 140 million previously suggested. Sports Direct, which owns the Lillywhites store in Piccadilly Circus, saw revenues were up 10% to 375 million between 27 April and 8 September. BY SIMON ENGLISH Nudist holiday company barely beats going bust Britains biggest nudist holiday operator travelzest was saved from the brink of collapse today as top management bet their shirts on its success. the companys shares -- which have subsequently returned to trading at 15p -- were suspended 10 days ago after it found that a planned 5.7 million new fund raising had fallen short by some 2 million. today travelzest announced that it had found the extra cash. the money is coming from a new share issue to the firms largest shareholder Merchant securities, chairman Mark Molyneux and chief operating officer Jack Fraser, who are paying 5p a share for a total of 40 million shares between them. that will leave Merchant with a 25% stake, Molyneux with 11% and Fraser with 9% of the company. travelzest listed on the junior aiM stock market in 2005 when it specialised in renting French villas. since then it has expanded by buying Peng travel which runs naturist resorts, Best of Morocco, Captivating Cuba and the Cruise Professionals. its biggest deal was the 2006 takeover of Canadian group itravel for 24.5 million. Earlier this year travelzests then chief executive Chris Mottershead and finance director Colin McKinlay left the company after an investigation into missing funds. it turned out no money was missing and neither man responsible for any wrongdoing. Openings off menu at Prezzo PIzzA restaurant chain Prezzo held back on new openings in the first half of the year but came up with only a modest fall in profits as revenues grew by 5.5%. Profits fell 1.4% to 5.1 million almost entirely due to the fact that Prezzos cash in the bank earned less interest. Sales were up from 41.4 million to 43.7 million from the chains 137 outlets. It said there were few signs of returning consumer confidence. Australia Dollars 1.8083 Canada Dollars 1.6773 Denmark Kroner 8.0682 Eurozone Euro 1.0872 Hong Kong Dollars 12.0500 Japan Yen 144.3200 New Zealand Dollars 2.1967 South Africa Rand 11.6400 Sweden Kronor 11.1200 Switzerland Francs 1.6477 UAE Dirham 5.6475 United States Dollars 1.5649 TOurisT raTes DOWN 8.71 at 4938.63 fTse 100 dOw jOnes nikkei -$ up 56.07 at 9497.34 DOWN 81.09 at 10,312.14 up 0.09c at $1.65 >>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 HighandMighty escapescollapse l HIGH and Mighty, the outfitter for the bigger fella, is close to being rescued from insolvency. The family-owned chain, which has more than 20 outlets including in Knightsbridge, is believed to have suffered from online clothes shopping. It is set to go through a pre-pack administration by which it goes through an insolvency process only to be bought immediately. Berkeley says cracks healing l London and South-East builder Berkeley today said the stability in the housing market it first reported three months ago continued through the summer. Todays annual meeting heard that recent trading had seen the number and price of sales stabilising with cancellation rates back to normal and forward sales maintained at more than 600 million. Crystal rooms is sold for 1 l THE Crystal Rooms, one of the biggest slot-machine emporiums off Leicester Square, has been sold for just 1 to Praesepe by United Leisure. Praesepe will also take on 3.3 million of debt. Chief executive nick Harding plans to grow revenues with hands-on management, a bigger, brighter floor area and upgraded slot machines with higher prizes. not so sweet for Thorntons l CHoC shop Thorntons today blamed the collapse of stores it supplies and the economic malaise for a drop in profits, but said it has started to see a pick up in demand by corporate customers. The High Street confectioner was hit by the demise of Woolworths, a major customer, and its largest franchise operator, the Birthdays chain. A new play by SIMON BENT Inspired by JOHN LAHRS biography and the diaries of JOE ORTONA new play by SIMON BENT Inspired by JOHN LAHRS biography and the diaries of JOE ORTON MMMAATTTT LLUUCCAASS ||| CCHHRRIISS NNEEEWW andandndd GGGGWWEENN TTAAYYLLOORR Best available seats reduced to 25 (usually up to 49.50) TO BOOK CALL 0207 492 1511 Offer valid for Tues - Fri performances at 7.30pm from 17 Sept - 2 Oct COMEDY THEATREPanton Street, London SW1 Best available seats reduced to 25 WICKEDLY FUNNY - MATT LUCAS SHINES Manchester Messenger READER OFFER GREAT SEATS JUST 25 Hey big spender: Shoppers are splashing out at House of Fraser 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.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html