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First-half profits at Morrisons slump by 51%

Britain's fourth largest supermarket Morrisons has announced a 51 per cent slump in its first-half profits as it posted its lowest figures for eight years.

Morrisons trails Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's in annual sales. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Bradford-based group said it made an underlying pre-tax profit of £181 million in the six months to Aug. 3.

Turnover fell 4.9 per cent to £8.5 billion, while sales at stores - excluding fuel and VAT sales tax - fell 7.4 per cent.

Lloyds to move HQ out of Scotland if yes vote

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed it would move its headquarters out of Scotland in the event of a Yes vote in the referendum.

Currently their headquarters are in Edinburgh but the bank has confirmed it would move them south to London.


Ferrari chairman set for £21.5 million payout

Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will leave in October. Credit: PA Wire

Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will receive a staggering payoff of nearly £27 million euros (£21.5 million) after he leaves the sports car manufacturer.

Montezemolo clashed with Marchionne over strategy and the F1 team's poor results Credit: PA Wire

Montezemolo will be replaced by Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne after the pair clashed over strategy and the Ferrari F1 team's poor results.

Standard Life planning 'transfer' in event of a Yes

Standard Life, which has its headquarters in Edinburgh, has announced contingency plans to relocate parts of its business to England in the event of a Yes vote.

A statement on the Standard Life website said:

In view of the uncertainty around Scotland's constitutional future, we have put in place precautionary measures which would help enable us to provide customers with continuity. This includes planning for new regulated companies in England to which we could transfer parts of our business if there was a need to do so.

This transfer of our business could potentially include pensions, investments and other long-term savings held by UK customers...

We will continue to serve our customers in Scotland and will consider what additional measures we may need to take on their behalf as a consequence of constitutional change once further clarity and certainty is received.

– statement by David Nish, chief executive, standard life

August 'fourth month in a row' that food sales fell

Major supermarkets such as Tesco and Morrisons have seen their market shares eaten away by discounters like Aldi and Lidl as well as cheap deals to eat out at pubs or cafes.

August was the fourth month in a row in which food sales had fallen in both the like-for-like and total measures, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG report.

The food sector remains in a state of disruption with the share of the 'big four' being challenged on many fronts after a 15-year reign.

The like-for-like decline shows the battle is being fought via the prices on the shelves, but the war may be won by those grocers best able to adhere to brand values to retain customer loyalty.

– KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale


Supermarket price wars keep pressure on grocers

Supermarket price wars kept grocers under intense pressure last month, despite the rest of the retail sector growing in August, according to the latest figures released.

Supermarket price wars kept grocers under intense pressure in August. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The British Retail Consortium and KPMG survey saw like-for-like retail sales lift 1.3% on the back of stronger clothing and footwear last month, with total sales jumping to 2.7%.

However, food sales fell by 1.6% over the quarter, the sharpest decline since November 2009, while like-for-like sales also slipped 3.6% over the last three months.

Scotland-based financial institutions see shares fall

Shares in Scotland-based financial institutions Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Standard Life fell by more than 2% in the wake of the latest opinion poll.

Perth-based energy supplier SSE was also fell.

RBS and Lloyds have seen shares fall by 2%. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Edinburgh-based Standard Life, which has been based in Scotland for 189 years, recently complained that it was still in the dark over "material issues" surrounding independence.

BP 'strongly disagrees' with Gulf of Mexico ruling

BP says it plans to appeal a US court's ruling that it was grossly negligent in the lead up to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The law is clear that proving gross negligence is a very high bar that was not met in this case. BP believes that an impartial view of the record does not support the erroneous conclusion reached by the District Court.

– BP

The Court is yet to rule on the number of barrels spilled, which will be key in determining the fine it orders BP to pay.

BP will also seek to show that its conduct merits a penalty below the maximum applicable, the company said in its statement.

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