Carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen has posted a slight rise in first-quarter sales.

The company, which has its UK operation at Ryton in Coventry, said it made sales of #9.2 billion in the first three months of 2005, compared with #9.16 billion under IFRS accounting rules in the year-earlier period.

It represented a 0.7 per cent increase.

Carmakers are facing tough times as western Europe's hard-hit market shows no signs of recovery.

Earlier this year Peugeot announced cutbacks at Ryton ? axing the plant's weekend shift, with the loss of 850 jobs, just a year after the night shift was ended at the expense of 700 workers.

The company has promised the Peugeot 206 model will continue production at Ryton until at least 2010.


Penguin has overcome problems at a new Midlands distribution depot as its owner said the business had been trading in line with expectations, the firm said this week.

Pearson said Penguin was doing well on bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic, with titles such as Jamie?s Dinners by Jamie Oliver at the number one spot in the UK.

Penguin was affected by the weak US dollar last year, as well as a softening in the US book market as readers switched from books to newspapers ahead of the election.

It was also hit by teething trouble at a new automated warehouse in Rugby - but Pearson said the site was now operating well.

The update, issued in conjunction with Pearson?s annual meeting, came as the group also announced further ?significant? profit improvements at its FT division, with the newspaper remaining on track to break-even this year.


JD Wetherspoon said trading at its non-smoking pubs had been in line with expectations after bar sales dipped but food business picked up.

The chain, which has an estate of 650 pubs, has so far converted 11 sites and opened another six smoke-free ones.

Wetherspoon said trading generally remained tough following a two per cent decline in like-for-like sales and a one per cent deterioration in operating margins for the period covering the last 13 weeks.

The sluggish performance mirrors the rest of the sector as pub operators face strong competition and off-trade prices at levels similar to 1997.

The early results from the non-smoking pubs showed margins were being put under pressure by the different mix of sales.


bmibaby is launching another new route from Birmingham International with direct flights to Newquay Cornwall International Airport.

The carrier will operate four times weekly services to Newquay, offering over 2,000 seats a week in the first direct air link between the Midlands and Cornwall.

Weekday and Sunday flights depart Birmingham at 8pm, with Saturday flights departing at 7am.

Regular fares on the new route start from just #19.99 one way, including taxes and charges.

Newquay Airport is just five miles north of the holiday resort, dubbed the UK surfing capital.

Direct flights will now make the resort accessible in just over an hour, cutting four hours off the regular summer journey time to Cornwall from the Midlands by road.