City&FinanceBriefing Inbrief topshop profits jump 13% but GreenstillgrimTopshop owner sir philip Green today spoke of one of the most challenging retail land- scapes I have ever seen and warned it will be a tough Christmas on the high street. hopes are growing that the recession is officially over but the billionaire clothes entrepreneur said it will be grim for some time as unemployment continues to rise. he said there are signs that things are improving but warned that the rising number of people out of work and the reversal of the VAT cut -- it goes back up to 17.5% from 15% after the New Year -- will hit demand. sir philip said: We have still got a long, hard slog ahead. We may be off the bottom but there is a long, long way to go in terms of getting back to whatever normal turns out to be. We may be out of recession, but what is the definition of out of recession? We have got two-and-a-half million unemployed. Asked about Christmas, he said: It should be better than last year, given how soft it was then, but there are no guarantees. his Arcadia empire had a 13% jump in profits for the 12 months to 29 August to 213.6 million. sales were up 2.7% to 1.9 billion. Topshop sales were again boosted by Kate Moss as the public face of the brand. BY hugo duncan Aviva publicity plans overtaken by affairs ANY hope Aviva had of announcing its European expansion plans with a fanfare today were pushed off course after its married chief executive admitted he had been involved in an office affair. The romance, which first began to leak in the Evening Standards City Spy on Tuesday, involved the insurance giants chief executive Andrew Moss and Deirdre Moffat -- a human resources worker at Aviva -- whom Moss had seconded to work in his office. The chief executive -- a father of four who was paid 2.2 million last year -- has now left his family for Moffat. She has left Aviva. Leaked details forced chairman Lord Sharman to make a statement that Moss retained his full confidence. But Aviva last night cancelled planned interviews which had been set up to announce its shift to a new pan-European strategy. Its entire business in Europe will now be headed up by a management team based in Ireland and led by Italian Andrea Moneta. Coincidentally Moneta is also the boss of Mosss lovers husband -- who is head of HR for Aviva in Europe. Moneta refused to talk today but instead issued a statement claiming that Aviva was making a quantum leap in Europe. It already operates in 15 European countries, where income contributed 44% of operating profit in the first half of the year. National Express profit dive WIThoUT a rescue rights issue or a merger partner after the collapse of a deal last week, National Express compounded its woes by today issuing a profit warning. The trains and coach giant admitted its profits this year will be below the estimates of City analysts. To blame is the increased interest rates the group pays on its 1 billion debt mountain because of the failure to get a refinancing rights issue away on time. Australia Dollars 1.6819 Canada Dollars 1.6401 Denmark Kroner 7.7841 Eurozone Euro 1.0490 Hong Kong Dollars 12.0700 Japan Yen 141.7200 New Zealand Dollars 2.0225 South Africa Rand 11.3100 Sweden Kronor 10.9000 Switzerland Francs 1.5809 UAE Dirham 5.6551 United States Dollars 1.5670 tourist ratEs DOWN 36.40 at 5207.00 ftsE 100 dow joNEs NikkEi -$ DOWN 92.12 at 9949.36 DOWN 66.22 at 10,267.17 DOWN 0.50 at $1.6557 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a Bt landline & last approx 1 min per quote. Not all stocks are available stay-at-homes hitting Luminar l BRITONS cutting back on nights out thanks to rising unemployment has caused falling sales and profits at club operator Luminar. The owner of the Oceana and Liquid chains warned today that trading has deteriorated, with like-for-like sales down 14% in the seven weeks to mid-October. For the six months to end-August, pre-tax profits dived 42% to 4.9 million. Facing an uphill struggle: Sir Philip Green with Kate Moss, right airport to take off at southend l TRUCKING firm Eddie Stobart is making such headway with plans at Southend Airport it believes the Essex airstrip could be handling two million passengers by 2014. Stobart bought Southend Airport earlier this year and today said a new station and link to the Stratford Olympics site and Liverpool Street station will be open in May next year. Camras beer tie claims fall flat l THERE will be no new investigation of the so-called beer tie after the Office of Fair Trading rejected complaints from the ale drinkers lobby group Camra. The large pub companies have come under increasing criticism as pub tenants are forced to buy their booze from them. The OFT said it had found no evidence of competition problems. jjBswoesboost sports direct l SpORTS DIRECT, the budget sports shops group, today said it is in line for profits before interest, tax and depreciation charges of at least 150 million. It has benefited from the woes of rival JJB, which suppliers were wary of dealing with it given the groups precarious financial position prior to the recent refinancing. 38 Thursday, 22 October 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.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html