Skipping ahead

THE UK’s largest UK luxury shoe seller was in upbeat mood yesterday after posting a 13% rise in earnings.

THE UK’s largest UK luxury shoe seller was in upbeat mood yesterday after posting a 13% rise in earnings.

Kurt Geiger, which sells shoes for an average of £200 a pair, saw underlying earnings of £8.1m for the 53 weeks to February 3 after better-than-expected online sales and a strong performance from concession partners, including Harrods and Selfridges.

The company is the largest wholesaler of Gucci and Prada in Europe and its luxury ranges include Stemar crocodile skin shoes, which sell for £5,000 a pair.

Music mix

MEDIA group Emap has unveiled a joint venture with broadcaster Channel 4 aimed at creating the UK’s number one music television provider.

Emap is to sell 50% of its music TV arm Box TV, which includes seven digital channels such as Kerrang! and Kiss, for £28m as part of the agreement.

The firm said the venture would benefit from the combination of its brands and Channel 4’s music content.

Paul Keenan, Emap’s chief executive of consumer media, said: “Together we make a formidable force in an otherwise fragmenting and challenging market.”

Pret in demand

SANDWICH chain Pret A Manger could drop plans for a stock market flotation after receiving interest from private equity firms.

The unsolicited approaches, thought to be from Lion Capital, Bridgepoint and PPM, have raised the prospect of a much bigger windfall for majority owners Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, who founded the business in 1986.

Pret revealed in April that it was at the early stages of considering a flotation on the London Stock Exchange, a move expected to value the company at between £300m and £350m.

Working well

THE social firm employment sector – businesses set up specifically to create jobs for disabled people or those who are severely disadvantaged in the labour market – is growing, according to new research.

A study by the charity Social Firms UK found that the sector expanded by 15% in 2006, with the number of companies with a major proportion of their workforce disabled or disadvantaged rising to 137.

The number of full-time jobs in the sector also rose by a third to 1,652, of which 52% are held by disabled or disadvantaged people.

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