Business round up

• Thousands of jobs will be lost if European retailer C&A pulls out of the UK. The company announced last week that it will withdraw from the UK and Ireland after more than 75 years, with the closure of 114 stores and 4,800 job losses. Over the past five years shareholders have supported UK retail losses of £250m in an attempt to return the company to profitability. But chief executive Lucas Brenninkmeijer said achieving turnaround in the UK “would involve greater cost and risk than the company was able to bear”. He added, “C&A has been part of the British high street for 75 years.” Unfortunately business conditions do not allow this.” In recent years the company has come under pressure from discount retailers such as Matalan, Peacocks and New Look and has already shut several UK stores.

Coke’s new race claim

• Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has agreed in principle to settle the racial discrimination lawsuit brought against it by former and current black employees. But just as the 18-month long case was drawing to a close, a separate suit was filed against it by four black women who used to work for Coca-Cola. They are suing the company for $1.5bn, an amount described by the company as “outrageous”. The protracted legal case has damaged the group’s highly-regarded image of diversity and prompted a boycott by some former black employees not involved in the lawsuit.

IT in the driving seat

• Hyundai, the biggest car manufacturer in South Korea, and Microsoft have announced a strategic alliance to develop information technology for the automotive industry. On Thursday, Chung Mong-Koo, the chairman of Hyundai, and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates signed a memorandum outlining plans to share technology and set up joint ventures. The technology exchange will focus on developing automated systems using artificial intelligence. It will also develop telematics – systems providing cars with wireless information including e-mail and traffic updates.

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