Fri, Jan 13, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CURRENCIES

Bitcoin drops on probe

Bitcoin prices plummeted after the People’s Bank of China announced it was investigating exchange platforms trading in the virtual currency. The Chinese central bank said it had dispatched inspection teams to several of the nation’s major bitcoin trading platforms in Beijing and Shanghai. The move, announced on Wednesday, sent the Bitcoin Price Index, an average of the major exchanges, to drop more than 15 percent to an intraday low of US$752.11 on Wednesday. Prices recovered slightly to US$768.76 yesterday, still far below its highs last week. The investigation was targeting foreign currency exchange, market manipulation, money laundering and financial security risks, the bank said.

RETAIL

Uniqlo profit jumps 45%

Uniqlo’s parent company yesterday said that quarterly net profit jumped by almost half from a year ago, as it refocused on a strategy aimed at luring thrifty shoppers. Fast Retailing Co’s net profit rose 45 percent to ¥70 billion (US$609 million) in the fiscal first quarter to November, while revenue edged up 1.6 percent to ¥529 billion. The company, Asia’s biggest retailer, said sales were under pressure in September and October owing to “unseasonably warm weather.” However, “once temperatures dropped in November, same-store sales picked up,” it said in a statement, referring to locations that have been open more than a year. The company left unchanged its annual forecast for a ¥100 billion net profit on revenue of ¥1.85 trillion.

TECHNOLOGY

Alphabet shifts to balloons

Google parent company Alphabet Inc on Wednesday confirmed that it is opting for balloons instead of drones in its quest to deliver Internet service from the sky. Alphabet said that it gave up on its Internet drone project, called Titan, about a year ago. Its staff moved elsewhere at Google X, including a project called Loon focused on creating a network of high-altitude balloons that would provide Internet service to people on the ground no matter how remote. Some people from the team also shifted to Project Wing, which is creating delivery drones.

LUXURY GOODS

Richemont posts sales gain

Richemont, the maker of Cartier necklaces and IWC Schaffhausen timepieces, reported an unexpected gain in Christmas-season revenue, boosted by demand for luxury jewelry and a rebound in watch sales at its own stores. Revenue gained 5 percent excluding currency shifts in the three months through December, the Geneva-based company said yesterday. Sales improved in all regions and businesses, giving Richemont some respite after revenue fell 12 percent in the first half. Revenue in Asia-Pacific, which accounted for about a third of total sales in the first half, gained 10 percent, the first increase in two years.

RETAIL

Holiday lifts Tesco sales

Supermarket chain Tesco PLC, Britain’s biggest retailer, yesterday announced rising sales during the festive period, which followed a strong third quarter. Chief executive Dave Lewis said that the company delivered a third successful Christmas in the UK and sales rose for an eighth consecutive quarter. Total group sales jumped 6.5 percent during Tesco’s third quarter ending November compared with a year earlier. In the following six weeks, sales grew 4.3 percent.

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