Carlsberg has reported an 8% increase in first-half sales to 30 June of DKK19.3bn (£1.74bn), thanks to hot weather and the World Cup. The brewer also said that operating profit increased 30% to DKK1.7bn during the period. It added that in the UK there had been "positive development" in the off-trade, with progress for both of its Carlsberg and Carlsberg Export brands. Analysts said that the results were "a positive performance".

United States
Wal-Mart has raised the starting rate of pay at more than 1,200 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. It also said that it was implementing new pay ranges that were wider than many other retailers, with the maximum near the top of the market in many regions. It will also raise pay increases for staff putting in a good annual performance and customer service. Susan Chambers, executive vice president of the people division for Wal-Mart, said: "Wal-Mart pays competitive wages, and we continue to transform our pay plans as we grow."

Supermarket chain Pyaterochka Holding has confirmed reports that it is considering changing its name. Lev Khasis, group chief executive officer of the retailer, said that it was currently considering a number of options but did not confirm reports that the new name could be X5. He said: "The rebranding is only related to the name Pyaterochka Holding - the chains Pyaterochka and Perekrestok will continue to work under their respective banners."

United States
Cadbury Schweppes has acquired the Seven-Up Bottling Company of San Francisco from the Easley family for $48m in cash. The company operates in 29 counties in Northern California, has ten warehouses and one manufacturing plant, and employs approximately 600 people. In 2005 it reported sales of $140m.

The Netherlands
Wessanen's second-quarter pre-tax profit rose 16% to E15m, on sales down to E389m from E414m the year before. Ad Veenhof, chief executive officer of Wessanen, said: "Our brands are generally performing well. Recent product introductions are proving to be successful, the latest initiatives have been well received by the trade and a number of new exciting introductions are in the pipeline for later this year."

United States
Sara Lee Corporation's full-year net profit to 1 July fell 22.7% to $555m on sales down 0.5% at $15.9bn. However, it also reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $8m, up from a $148m loss the year before, on sales up 2% at $4.1bn. Brenda Barnes, chairman and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation, said: "I am confident that the progress we have made with the transformation of Sara Lee during 2006 gives us the foundation we need for
strong future performance." This week Smithfield Foods and Oaktree Capital Management completed their acquisition of Sara Lee's European meats business.