The welcome sight of banks rowing back on executive pensions | Nils Pratley

HSBC and Lloyds are showing the way, but it’s still one rule for bosses and another for staffAt HSBC and Lloyds in the past week, we’ve been treated to a rare sight: boards deciding not to defend the indefensible on executive pay. The issue has been ex…

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Are Chinese punters big users of Bet365? The firm still won’t say | Nils Pratley

Billionaire Denise Coates could do everyone a favour by being clearer about where it makes its moneyThe other interesting line in Bet365’s accounts – aside from news of Denise Coates’s £220m salary and £45m dividend – was this: “A geographical analysis…

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UK wage growth accelerates as employment rate hits record high – business live

Rolling coverage of the Federal Reserve decision on US interest rates, and Jerome Powell’s first press conference as Fed chair Powell: Trade is becoming a risk to the outlookNewsflash: The Fed has hiked US interest rates to 1.75%Fed: The outlook has st…

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‘Botched’ Homebase takeover puts hundreds of jobs at risk

Up to 40 outlets of DIY chain and Bunnings stores at risk as owner blames restructuring

Up to 40 Homebase and Bunnings DIY stores could be closed, putting hundreds of jobs at risk, after the group’s Australian owner said it was reviewing the future of its UK business.

Wesfarmers bought Homebase for £340m two years ago but, by its own admission, has botched the takeover.

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B&Q owner Kingfisher won’t let its European DIY firms do their own thing | Nils Pratley

Kingfisher’s acronym-heavy financial results cannot disguise a unification policy that has meant stock shortages

If you find B&Q’s stores to be labyrinths for the unwary, stay away from the acronym-heavy financial statements of the parent company, Kingfisher. The group even has to provide a glossary, presumably for the benefit of readers whose concentration weakens at the umpteenth mention of the CPR , COGS and GNFR wonders being brought about by the ONE programme.

ONE, oddly, doesn’t stand for anything. It just indicates Kingfisher’s ambition to run itself as a single company, rather than letting its nine European do-it-yourself businesses do their own thing. The promise from the chief executive, Véronique Laury, is that, by 2021, unification will yield annual profits £500m better than BAU (business as usual, obvious). The City’s stance in recent months has been: are you sure?

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Bunnings beware: the Homebase revolution is failing to shape up

After the first full year of ownership by Australia’s Wesfarmers, the chain has lost £54m and the bullishness has gone

The strangest acquisition in the retailing sector in the past couple of years was the £340m purchase of Homebase by Wesfarmers of Australia.

It was odd in many ways. First, nobody had been able to make decent money from Homebase in years. Second, hardly anybody in the UK has heard of Bunnings, the Australian format that will gradually replace Homebase. Third, Wesfarmers had never done a big deal outside Australia and New Zealand.

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