Marks & Spencer sandwich supplier Uniq reported falling sales in the first three months of the year, down 4.9% on the same period in 2008.The European chilled convenience food group blamed a slowdown in its markets and the later timing of Easter for operating losses, which were slightly lower than it had expected. However, it has recently won more business with M&S, which prompted it to make further investments in its food-to-go facility at Northampton.UK sales were flat year-on-year with growth in desserts and salads being offset by a slight decline in food-to-go. A company statement reported: “This performance is slightly ahead of our expectations, as we had planned for a continuation of the slowdown experienced in the second half of 2008.”It added that work to complete the closure of Paignton and transfer business into Minsterley was on track and would be complete by September 2009.
Clarkson may have cemented his future as part of the Lakers’ young core after being selected 46th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. Yet, he still stayed aware of the never-ending work that awaits in rectifying last season’s 17-65 record, the franchise’s worst mark in its 68-year-old history. Clarkson may have also represented one of last season’s few positive developments, averaging 15.5 points and logging double figures in 27 consecutive games. Yet, Clarkson has centered more on expanding his craft than feeling satisfied with his growth. So, Clarkson has embraced the challenge Lakers coach Luke Walton has outlined for him to become “a very good defender.”“I was just terrible on that end, taking wrong angles, wasn’t there on tags and wasn’t there on late closeouts,” Clarkson said. “It got to the point where it was bad. We were a bad defensive team as a whole last year. But I take it upon myself really to improve on that.”It might be too ambitious to expect the Lakers to improve significantly on defense after finishing 26th out of 30 NBA teams last season in points allowed (106.9). But Walton has centered the first two days of training camp toward that area. During that time, Walton called Clarkson “one of our best” defenders because of his aggressiveness and willingness to fight through screens. Clarkson also praised Walton for showing him film that showed him making some unspecified defensive mistakes during Tuesday’s practice session. “He’s just been on me and building confidence in myself,” Clarkson said. “He’s teaching me and staying on me about everything defensively.” SANTA BARBARA — The moment could have called for Jordan Clarkson to go on a shopping spree. Or he could have enjoyed a late night in Los Angeles. Or he could have felt validated for the journey he traveled in two years as a second-round pick into a key part of the Lakers’ young core.Yet, Clarkson maintained he did not harbor any of those thoughts when he and the Lakers agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal on the first night of free agency in early July. Instead, Clarkson soon went to sleep to squeeze in a few hours of rest. After all, Clarkson wanted to feel recharged for his early morning workout with his personal trainer, Drew Hanlen. “It doesn’t stop. That’s our job,” Clarkson said on Wednesday after practice at the Robertson Gymnasium. “This is what we do. If you’re not in the gym, something is wrong with you. Some NBA players don’t work. But I’ve held my hat on that.”The reasoning seemed simple. The Lakers stayed on Clarkson about everything defensively during his exit meeting. Then, former Lakers coach Byron Scott even threatened Clarkson would play fewer minutes if he did not improve defensively. Walton has not offered such stern warnings. Yet, the Lakers’ coach has initially focused little on what Clarkson can offer offensively. “Offensively for him I don’t really have a set goal what I’m looking for right now,” Walton said. “It’s more the team idea of ball movement, player movement and never standing around. I think if the team embraces that, the way Jordan plays and the way he moves on the court, he’ll have a great year.” Clarkson, on the other hand, sounded more self critical. “Offensively I feel like I’ve grown. But I want to play the right way,” Clarkson said. “I felt last year a lot of times I wasn’t playing the right way and that causes us to take tough shots and our field goal percentage goes down. I’m happy coach is here preaching moving the ball and getting easy shots. That makes the game a lot easier.”To make the game easier, Clarkson developed on a “little bit of everything” this summer in informal workouts and training sessions with Hanlen. He continued attacking the basket. He worked on his outside shot after making 34.7 percent last season on 3-point attempts. And studied more film on defensive concepts.All of which Clarkson hopes can prove he’s both worthy and not consumed with his new contract. “Just help get some wins and being with my teammates,” Clarkson said. “That’s what it’s about this year.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error read more