McLoughlin for Asda campaign

Asda owner Wal-Mart said footballer Wayne Rooney's fiancee Coleen McLoughlin will star in a new television advert as it revealed that competition from rivals such as Tesco damaged profits this summer.

Asda owner Wal-Mart said footballer Wayne Rooney's fiancee Coleen McLoughlin will star in a new television advert as it revealed that competition from rivals such as Tesco damaged profits this summer.

The US firm said total sales at Asda were in the "mid-single digits" from May to July while like-for-like sales were in the "low-single digits".

Powergen profits plummet 26%

THE German owner of energy supplier Powergen said profits at its UK arm fell 26% despite increasing gas bills by a quarter in March. EON said UK profits plunged from £413m to £304m in the first six months of the year as it struggled to overcome the soaring cost of wholesale gas.

Basil joins BT's broadband stars

CHILDREN'S TV favourites Basil Brush and Postman Pat, as well as rock band Oasis, have been unveiled as some of the new signings to BT's planned TV-via-broadband service

The firm hopes to launch BT Vision in the autumn and said deals with four independent producers and distributors would widen the choice of video-on-demand for viewers.

Shire's shares rise sharply

SHARES in pharmaceuticals group Shire rose sharply after it won a patent case preventing the launch of a copycat version of a key drug in its portfolio. Barr Pharmaceuticals will not market an extended-release version of Shire's hyperactivity drug Adderall until 2009.

Estates division back in black

COUNTRYWIDE steered its estate agency division back into the black after the housing market returned to more normal trends over the last year. The division turned last year's half-year operating loss of £6.4m into profits of £19m in the six months to June 30.

Sportsman on verge of funding

BETTING newspaper The Sportsman appears on the verge of securing new funding after administrators said a sale was just days away. The package will save the majority of the paper's 100-strong team as the future of the publication is secured.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer