MT's week in 60 seconds

The best of this week's business news: Square Mile squeals, high street howls and boardroom bawlers...

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

As you may know, here at MT we like to bring you a glass-half-full take on the business world. However, the good cheer has been in even shorter supply than ever this week, as another legion of bosses moaned about the housing market, consumer spending, short-sellers and of course, the Government...

High street bellwether John Lewis got things off to a bad start by announcing another week of falling sales, while fellow behemoth Tesco made matters even worse by reporting lower-than-expected numbers for last quarter. Homebase and Carphone Warehouse are also feeling the squeeze, leaving Alliance Boots as perhaps the only morsel of good tidings. Housebuilders also saw their share prices plunge amid more fears about the housing market. But the biggest losers of the week could turn out to be the two banks underwriting HBOS’s £4bn share price, who look like they may be forced to buy all the stock themselves. At a time when the City’s finest are dumping staff to cut costs, that’s the last thing they need.

On the other hand, deals are being done. Yesterday InBev made a huge bid for Budweiser maker Anheuser Busch, while Google and Yahoo agreed a co-operation deal. RBS managed to tie up its bumper £12bn rights issue (though we imagine that won’t be much consolation to HBOS), Ryanair launched a holiday villa site, and some Swiss financiers swooped to the rescue of stricken airline Silverjet. And perhaps the strangest venture of the week: rappers The Wu-Tang Clan have just launched a new online chess community. Fo' shizzle.

And in a week when Euro 2008 began, UK small business owners have been complaining about another perceived European indignity: new employment rights for temps, direct from Brussels. Government research proving that UK plc adds more value than its European counterparts, but pays more tax too, is unlikely to have appeased them... In fact in a week that it also took Next to court for using RAF logos, lost a load of top-security documents and won a Pyrrhic victory over 42-day detention, the Government has probably lost even more friends…

Elsewhere we learned that women are better than men in a recession (according to women); that we’re getting increasingly obsessed with people replying to our emails, and – in the television event of the week – that lying blatantly on your CV is no bar to getting the hottest Apprentice job in the UK. Well, in Brentwood, anyway.

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