The Restaurant Group set to announce closures this week

The owner of Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito is expected to announce site closures this week in a new blow to retail park landlords.

The Restaurant Group is preparing to dispose of more of its underperforming restaurant sites, many of which are in out-of-town retail parks.

Some of the sites could be converted into Wagamama restaurants, one of its best-performing brands, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The Restaurant Group, founded in 1987, said in September that it expected to cut its estate of 352 leisure division outlets by at least 50 per cent over the next few years. A hit from its restaurants, mostly Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito outlets, pushed the company to a statutory loss before tax of £87.7 million in the 26 weeks to June 30, against a £12.2 million profit of a year earlier.

The company is due to report its full-year results on Wednesday. Andy

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Johnson set to axe network of UK business councils

Dozens of business leaders could be forced to relinquish their roles as advisers to the prime minister as part of a shake-up of Boris Johnson’s engagements with industry bosses.

It is understood that Downing Street officials are keen to overhaul the network of five business councils set up in November 2018 by Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May.

Although Mr Johnson held one meeting last October with the council co-chairs – including the technology entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis and Sir Ian Davis, the Rolls Royce Holdings chairman – City sources said on Thursday that there had been no attempt to reactivate the network since December’s general election.

It remained possible but unlikely, they said, that the existing structure would remain in place.

Business chiefs believe the PM is likely to consider creating a single new committee of business advisers in the coming months, although they predicted that

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Heathrow pledges to become worlds first zero carbon airport

Heathrow has become carbon neutral in emissions, but only from the parts of the airport it runs and not including flights.

It means Europe’s busiest airport is making no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from its airport buildings, infrastructure, business travel and vehicles.

But carbon emissions from its suppliers, terminal retailers, the possible construction of a third runway or, crucially, the flights are not included.

It is aiming to be zero carbon by the mid-2030s and is the first airport in the world to set this as a target, officials say.

It will now offset its remaining carbon emissions through tree planting schemes in Indonesia and Mexico.

Matt Gorman, director of sustainability at Heathrow, told Sky News: “The enemy is not aviation, it’s carbon. Our collective challenge, this isn’t just for aviation, is to get carbon out of the economy as quickly as possible.

The planting schemes

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£10M boost for patient care in UK life sciences sector

A new £10million scheme will give leading researchers and businesses, based in the UK, the chance to work together to develop treatments and cures for those facing life-threatening conditions like cancer and dementia.

The UK is home to one of the strongest, most productive health and life sciences industries globally. The sector is worth £75 billion a year and employs 250,000 people across the UK.

Launched Today by the Life Sciences Minister Nadhim Zahawi, the new Innovation Scholars Scheme, will support secondments for academics to develop new technologies and techniques to help NHS patients as soon as possible.

The scheme offers investment to support collaboration in life sciences between researchers and industry.

It will include developing new healthcare wearable technologies such as smartwatches and monitors, diagnostic devices like mobile health units, and new personalised medicines based on patients’ genetic information.

Today, the Government also announced six new locations that have

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Retail sales bounce back in January after weak end to 2019

Retail sales improved in January, increasing by 0.9% on the previous month, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the amount of goods sold in Great Britain rose by 0.9%, after falls in the previous two months.

It was the largest monthly rise since March, and a stronger performance than was expected by economists.

Despite the rebound seen last month, sales for the three-months to end-January fell.

Rhian Murphy, head of retail sales at the ONS, pointed out that in the three months to January, the amount of goods bought fell by 0.8%. She said there were “declines across all sectors” during the quarter.

But Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said the economy appears to be “on surer footing”.

He added: “While the ‘Boris-bounce’ appears to have boosted consumer confidence and improved the mood among retailers, many are continuing

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