City&FinanceBriefing London Lite Friday, 23 October 2009 41 Inbrief John Lewis up as winter comes l John Lewis posted a fifth successive week of rising sales, with takings up 13.8% year-on-year in the week to 17 october. Although performance last year was weak, the latest figures are still 4.5% up on the same week in 2007. It said winters approach led to strong sales in heating and candles and at sister group Waitrose demand for casserole ingredients was up 18%. Fosters Strand hotel on sale l The norman Foster-designed hotel development on the Strand went on the market today with a minimum bid price of 110 million. Work stalled on the site when owner Urvasco collapsed into receivership. however, agent Cushman & Wakefield is optimistic it can find buyers now the market is picking up. Cushman has already had 140 expressions of interest. LA Fitness clubs get a revamp l Gym operator LA Fitness today said it is hiring 350 more staff at its London branches as the chain invests 20 million in revamping its 24 clubs in the capital. The firm also plans to refurbish all of its 88 gyms in the next year. Chief executive martin Long said LA Fitness traded well in the recession, with membership down only 1.8% year-on-year since July. Provident rises on rivals failure l SUB-prIme lender provident Financial is on track to grow profits this year thanks to caution at the banks and the collapse of rivals. provident, which lends small sums to those who cant get credit elsewhere, said the sound, overall condition of its loans leave it well positioned. Customer numbers are around 4% higher than last year. Australia Dollars 1.7039 Canada Dollars 1.6558 Denmark Kroner 7.8432 Eurozone Euro 1.0569 HongKong Dollars 12.1900 Japan Yen 144.4800 NewZealand Dollars 2.0517 SouthAfrica Rand 11.5900 Sweden Kronor 10.8900 Switzerland Francs 1.5917 UAE Dirham 5.7064 UnitedStates Dollars 1.5828 TouriST rATeS UP 45.00 at 5252.36 FTSe 100 dow JoneS nikkei -$ UP 131.95 at 10,081.31 UP 15.82 at 10,282.99 DOWN 1.13 at $1.6510 >>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 Film firm focuses on funds FILM company HandMade today announced a 17 million fundraiser on the day it started trading on the market again. The AIM-listed firms shares were suspended in July after it failed to publish audited accounts for 2008, claiming to be in talks about multiple corporate transactions. Today it announced the acquisition of Animation Collective, a New York cartoon studiom. It posted a pre-tax loss of 6.4 million for the year to December 2008. BSkyB beats the slump and targets 10 million THE recession has passed BSkyB by as the pay-tv broadcaster confidently predicted it will put on another half a million customers over the next year and pass the landmark of being in 10 million homes in 2010. We will get there, said chief executive Jeremy Darroch. We are a bit ahead of plan at the moment and though we will not overly push it, we will get to 10 million some time in 2010. Like any consumer business we are not immune [to the consumer spending squeeze] and we are not complacent but frankly we are great value if you compare us to the price of a family night out. Much of the half million new customers that Sky needs to get to 10 million households in the UK and Ireland is likely to come as families give themselves a Christmas treat of either a first-time Sky subscription or an upgrade to Sky+HD. This allows viewers to watch in high definition and record or pause programmes. In the three months to the end of September, Sky put on a net new 94,000 customers to take its total households up to 9.53 million. The number of Sky+ customers rose 411,000 to 5.9 million, or 60% of the customer base. Operating profits in the first quarter of the financial year rose 11% to 198 million on revenues up 10% to 1.38 billion. Best sellers: the retailer is being boosted by a rush from the High Street Amazon is set for a festive salesbonanzaAMAZONs UK arm today predicted a very happy Christmas as Brits shun the High Street to buy their presents online. We are expecting a brilliant fourth quarter, the online retail- ers UK managing director Brian McBride said. This year will be the first time shoppers can do all their present shopping with us at Amazon, from books and DVDs to elec- tronics and clothes. It is in sharp contrast to the prospects for traditional stores, with Sir Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop and Bhs, warning yesterday that the High Street faces a tough festive season. McBride said Amazon is delighted with its UK sales in the third quarter. Dan Browns latest novel, The Lost Symbol, has been the bestseller on the site, while customers pre-ordering Microsofts Windows 7 software have boosted sales. Amazon smashed forecasts, with a 68% jump in profits to $199 million (120 mil- lion) for the past three months. BY rosamund urwin Good news 1 Good news 2 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