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Threat to small stores

INDEPENDENT Irish supermarkets feel the single biggest threat to their business is the development of out-of-town shopping centres, according to a new survey by BWG Foods.

Despite a gradual drop-off in new out-of-town shopping centres and increasing preference for urban convenience stores, small stores still see them as a major challenge. Emigration and local rates were cited as the second and third-biggest threats.

MERC DEMAND SURGES

MERCEDES-Benz, the world's third-largest maker of luxury cars, sold more vehicles in a single month than ever before as demand surged for its new compact cars and the top-of-the-line S-Class.

Deliveries rose 13pc in March to 158,523 cars and sport-utility vehicles, contributing to the best first quarter in the brand's history, the subsidiary of Germany-based Daimler said.

KERRY PAY INCREASES

KERRY Group employees received average wage increases of 3.1pc last year, the company's latest accounts reveal, while casting light on just how much its top people are taking home.

The Tralee-based food firm's chief executive Stan McCarthy received a total pay packet worth €3.5m in the year, the accounts show – up €54,000 on the year before. This includes €969,000 in basic pay, €683,000 in performance-related pay and €200,000 in pension benefits.

Chief financial officer Brian Mehigan's total remuneration was €1.8m, up from €1.75 the year before.

US HIRING PACE STEADY

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US EMPLOYERS have maintained a solid pace of hiring for a second straight month in March, further evidence of resilience in an economy that had been held back by a brutal winter.

Non-farm payrolls increased by 192,000 jobs last month after rising 197,000 in February, the Labour Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate held at 6.7pc, just above January's five-year low, as Americans flooded the labour market.

HOUSE OF FRASER DEAL

CHINA'S Sanpower Group has agreed to buy an 89pc stake in Britain's 160-year-old House of Fraser in a deal that values the department store at over £450m (€544m).

A source close to the deal, who did not want to be named, said that the transaction with the Nanjing-based conglomerate was expected to be confirmed "imminently". The store, which trades from 61 shops in Britain and Ireland, has annual sales of about £1.2bn.


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