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Business IN BRIEF.

SHARES in home shopping firm Findel plummeted nearly 40 per cent yesterday after profits were hit by more customers falling behind on payments.

The firm, who sell household goods under names such as the Cotswold Company, Kitbag and Ace, said they were adding pounds 5million to their bad debt provision for the year until March 31, with profits hit as a result.

It comes after the group experienced a "softening" in repayments from credit customers in the past two months.

Around 1.5million people use credit to buy through Findel's home shopping arm.

The group's bad debt provision before the pounds 5million change is understood to have been pounds 83million.

A spokeswoman said it was a "prudent" move.

INSURANCE giants Prudential posted a better-than-expected hike in first-quarter sales yesterday.

But in a sign that the current economic turmoil is starting to bite, new business slipped 19 per cent on the last three months of 2007.

The Pru reported group wide insurance sales of pounds 729million for the three months to March 31, up 13 per cent year-on-year.

Their UK arm saw sales of pounds 189million, up four per cent on the same period last year.

And their Asian business continued to outshine domestic operations, with sales up 30 per cent.

Chief executive Mark Tucker said: "Our geographic diversity, advantaged distribution, product expertise and management capability position us well for future growth."

FOUR out of 10 Britons are prepared to pay extra for environmentally friendly products, a survey showed yesterday.

Around 40 per cent said they would be happy to pay an average of 10 per cent more for goods that were organic, recycled or energy-efficient.

Nearly two-thirds said they regularly bought environmentally friendly products in their weekly shop, with women more likely to look out for green products than men.

Around 71 per cent of people also said they often tried to buy fruit and vegetables grown in the UK to reduce their carbon footprint.

Matthew Timms, director of online bank cahoot, who carried out the survey, said: "It's great to see that so many of us are developing a conscience when it comes to our weekly supermarket shop."

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GROWTH: Tucker
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 18, 2008
Words:363
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