Kingfisher launched its fast multi-hulled yacht, skippered by Ellen MacArthur, in Sydney, under the new name of B&Q/Castorama. MacArthur tried to break the Transatlantic speed record later in the year, only to fail by 75 minutes. Her present round-the-world speed record attempt in the same boat is doing well, and she has a good chance of beating the 72-day benchmark set by French sailor Francis Joyon.
WHSmith chief executive Kate Swann announced a review of the business, following a profit warning after Christmas. The troubled books-to-stationary retailer immediately experienced a boardroom exodus, and hundreds of jobs at the Swindon head office were left facing the axe. Analysts predicted the likelihood of another profit warning from Swann this year, which has not happened as yet - probably the first good sign after an annus horribilis for WHSmith.
Other troubled retailers seem to have fared less well. Sainsbury's wrestled with industrial unrest last year, as it met with trade union representatives to avert a strike at its Merseyside distribution centre. Sainsbury's was not the only retailer to be hit by union unrest at distribution centres. Screwfix and Tesco were both hit by the threat of industrial action last year.