City&FinanceBriefing 40 Thursday, 5 November 2009 London Lite Inbrief ITV gets an ads lift as it homes in on new bossITV today cheered the City with forecasts of a strong upturn in advertising in the run- up to Christmas as it emerged that corporate finance heavy-hitter Bob Wigley is front runner to become its next chairman. Wigley, who was one of Merrill Lynchs biggest rainmakers for more than decade, could replace Michael Grade before the end of the year, allowing the broadcaster to restart its search for a new chief executive. ITV declined to comment on Wigley today, simply saying its nomination committee was continuing its search. But it gave a much more upbeat view of advertising revenues than most analysts had been expecting. It said that while revenues across the group had fallen by 12% in the first nine months, advertising revenues in the final quarter were likely to be flat. That is better than forecast, with October down 3%, November down 1% and December up 4%. Chief operating officer John Cresswell said: What is noteworthy is that we have achieved our cost savings without any detri- ment to programming. Of course theres X Factor, but we have also had very strong audiences for programmes like Doc Martin, TV Burp, Murderland and Benidorm. BY Nick goodwaY Cash-for-bangers lifts new car sales to a high New car registrations saw their biggest monthly rise of the year in October, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said today. Sales of new cars soared 31.6% to 168,942 during the month, driven by an increase in the number of private buyers, which jumped by 86.0% year-on-year to 89,532 in October. But sales in the 10 months to the end of October totted up to 1,685,981, still down 12.3% on the same period in previous year. The SMMT said that the Governments vehicle scrappage scheme, which gives buyers of new cars or vans a 2000 discount if they trade in vehicles registered before August 1999, had accounted for more than 20% of the months new car sales. The Government announced plans to extend the scheme by a further 100 million to 400 million at the end of September, covering an extra 100,000 vehicle sales. Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, said: Hopes that significantly higher car sales would help the UK economy return to growth in the third quarter, as had been the case with both Germany and France in the second quarter, proved misplaced. But the further improvement in car sales should help the economy to finally return to growth in the fourth quarter. This may be a sign that... consumers have greater scope and willingness to step up their discretionary spending. Whole Foods to be ready ORGANIC superstore Whole Foods is to start stocking ready meals from next week, after admitting it misread British shoppers tastes. The Kensington emporium, which made a 36 million loss last year, is also replacing its champagne and oyster bar with a Japanese shabu-shabu bar, thought to be the first in central London. US parent company Whole Food Markets reported sales were up in the fourth quarter of its financial year. Australia Dollars 1.7251 Canada Dollars 1.6695 Denmark Kroner 7.9077 Eurozone Euro 1.0658 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1100 Japan Yen 141.9800 New Zealand Dollars 2.1256 South Africa Rand 11.9200 Sweden Kronor 11.1500 Switzerland Francs 1.6084 UAE Dirham 5.6733 United States Dollars 1.5719 TourIsT raTes DOWN 36.17 at 5071.72 FTse 100 doW jones nIkkeI -$ UP 30.23 at 9802.14 DOWN 126.87 at 9717.44 DOWN 0.43 at $1.6514 >>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 unilever rules out Cadbury bid l Consumer goods giant unilever today ruled itself out as a potential white knight for Cadbury, as the uK chocolate maker battles to fight off a 10 billion-plus takeover bid from Kraft. support for a bid from unilever had been growing. But today unilever finance director Jim Lawrence said that the company is not interested in buying Cadbury. Broker fears a hungparliament l CITY stockbrokers Charles stanley fears that next years general election could lead to a hung parliament -- a result that might throw the recovery of the stock market off track. senior director mike Lilwall said: An increasing number are speculating that we might get a hung parliament. That would be bad news for the markets. TM Lewin grows despite slump l sHIrTmAKer Tm Lewin today pledged to continue its London expansion as it proved it is defying the recession. The Jermyn street- based group, which already has 35 stores within the m25, is opening a new branch in regent street before Christmas and another in euston station in the coming months. sales in the six months since February have jumped 11%. return of the gazumpers l GAzumpInG is back as firms looking to rent offices in London are losing out as rivals swoop in with better offers. It comes as the capitals office market recovers from the worst slump in decades. property agent Knight Frank today told the evening standard lack of supply and a return of demand is driving the market. Ratings hits: Cheryl and fellow judges sashay onto the X Factor 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