PRESS DIGEST British Business June 15

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Aug 18 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times

- Mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson is understood to be seeking sweeping job cuts outside its native Sweden that may affect its workforce of 3,500 in the United Kingdom.

- Home improvement retailer Kingfisher Plc has blamed the weather for falling sales in the United Kingdom as it continues to be dogged by a slowdown in France. The retail group said that underlying sales at Castorama had fallen by 2.8 percent to 668 million euros ($783.30 million) while sales at Brico Depot were down 5.1 percent at 520 million euros ($609.75 million).

The Guardian

- Learndirect, the United Kingdom's largest adult training provider, has blamed the government's austerity programme for its failure to meet the education regulator's minimum quality standards.

- Britain's biggest companies have been told that a lack of diversity in their boardrooms could hinder government plans to increase trade with non-EU countries after Brexit. The warning comes as a report by the executive search company Green Park shows the number of FTSE 100 businesses with no ethnic minority representation at senior level has fallen to 58 from 62.

The Telegraph

- Asda, the British supermarket arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc , has toasted its first increase in quarterly sales for three years on the back of a successful Easter, the return of inflation and early signs that its turnaround efforts are beginning to work.

- Britain's factories benefited from a surge in sales to the European Union in the first half of this year as export growth outstripped import growth. UK still imports far more than it exports leaving the country with a goods deficit amounting to 53 billion euros ($62.15 billion) for the six months to June in its trade with the EU, but that is down from 57.8 billion euros ($67.78 billion) in the same period of 2016.

Sky News

- Singaporean fund GIC and KKR & Co LP team up for 6 billion pound ($7.72 billion) Unilever Plc's spreads bid. The emergence of another consortium in the auction will raise hopes among Unilever's investors that the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant can attract a bumper price for the division.

- Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook has become the latest U.S. executive to criticise President Donald Trump over his reaction to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Independent

- Retail sales was weak again in July, reflecting the hit to spending power from spiking inflation and fragile household confidence that is marking the build-up to Brexit. Sales volumes were up 0.3 percent in July, following 0.3 percent growth the previous month, the Office for National Statistics reported.

($1 = 0.8528 euros) ($1 = 0.7769 pounds) (Compiled by Bengaluru newsroom; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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