Business headlines: Marks & Spencer; Leave.EU; Persimmon; Schaefller; New Look; HSBC

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It’s vital to be aware of the latest news in the industry you’re working in or applying to. Here are some headlines you might find interesting:

Marks & Spencer hit by falling food and clothing sales
Marks & Spencer saw its clothing and food sales go down, with like-for-like sales falling by 2.2% for the six months to the end of September. Food sales fell by 2.9%, while clothing and home sales were down 1.1%. The company said that it expected little improvement for the remainder of the financial year. Even so, chief executive of M&S, Steve Rowe, said that the chain was working hard to reshape the business, lowering prices on hundreds of food items. He didn’t rule out additional store closures, with 100 shops already up for closure by 2022. M&S intends to run one-third of its business online in the future, closing many of its bigger stores.

Arron Banks and Leave.EU campaign face £135,000 in fines
The pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.EU and an insurance company owned by Arran Banks are facing fines of £135,000 for breaching data laws. A report following an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s office stated that over a million emails sent to subscribers to Leave.EU contained marketing for Mr Bank’s Eldon Insurance. An investigation is still ongoing into an alleged breach relating to the insurance firm’s overall handling of personal data.

Primark says unseasonable weather behind drop in sales
Fashion retailer Primark saw its sales fall by 2.1% for the year to 15 September at stores open more than 12 months. Primark said unseasonable weather was behind the drop, quoting the cold snap at the start of the year, the summer heatwave and unusually warm autumn weather as drivers behind the results. However, overall sales increased by 5%, driven by the opening of 15 new stores. The retailer intends to open another one million sq ft of retail space in the next financial year, including its biggest store yet in Birmingham.

Persimmon boss to leave over pay award row
The boss of housebuilding company Persimmon, Jeff Fairburn, has announced he is leaving the company at the end of the year after a row over his pay award. Mr Fairburn’s pay package, which was initially £100m, was widely criticised, after which it was reduced to £75m. However, Mr Fairburn has now decided to leave the company by ‘mutual agreement and at the request of the company’ as the issue is still said to have a negative impact on the company’s reputation and on Mr Fairburn’s ability to continue in his role. Persimmon said that it could not reduce the share awards that Mr Fairburn will be receiving when he leaves the firm in December.

Schaeffler factories to close due to Brexit uncertainty
Automobile and industrial company Schaeffler has announced plans to close factories in the UK as a result of uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Two Schaeffler factories, in Llanelli and Plymouth, have already been earmarked for closure. The German firm operates five plants across the UK, employing 1,000 people. Schaeffler has proposed to move the production from the two factories up for closure outside of the UK. Meanwhile its biggest plant in Sheffield remains open. The move puts over 550 UK jobs at risk. Schaeffler has started a 45-day consultation on its plan.

Fashion retailer New Look may close over 120 UK stores as part of its restructuring plans, with 85 stores now confirmed to close while the fate of another 39 shops is unclear as talks with landlords continue.

HSBC bank has confirmed that a number of bank accounts of its US customers were hacked in October, stating that the perpetrators may have accessed information such as account numbers and balances, payee details, statement and transaction histories and customer names, addresses and dates of birth of fewer than 1% of its US clients.

Source: HN Global