17 Nov 2011
November 17, 2011

The Double-dip Failure Shortlist

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I couldn’t help but notice that Mothercare is in the news again with the BBC headline Mothercare reports loss after weak UK sales  This time the business has posted a half-year loss of £81.4m, a like-for-like sales drop of 7%, and are launching a review of their UK business. Back in January of this year.. read more →

I’ve spent a lot of my business life working in and around consumer goods companies.  Now, the FMCG world is an interesting place, dominated by the uneasy relationships between the big retailers and the smaller suppliers. Over recent years the situation has become even more polarised, with the retail giants taking and even more dominant.. read more →

28 Jan 2011
January 28, 2011

Fred Sirieix

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Something that I always find inspiring is seeing passion and great achievement emulating from an unlikely source. And so, over the last week or so, our house has been spell-bound, mesmerised and overjoyed as we watch the TV.  The program that has had this amazing effect has been Michel Roux’s Service. Take a bunch of.. read more →

19 Jan 2011
January 19, 2011

HMV and Credit Insurance

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On January 6th, in my post about HMV, I commented that the issue for SMEs will be what happens if or when the insurers pull cover: When a big retailer sneezes it is the suppliers that catch the flu.  The debt insurers will pull their cover.  The banks will then pull any financing, discounting or.. read more →

Two more profit warnings have hit the press – This time it is Clinton Cards and Mothercare The Telegraph article opens by saying that shares in Clinton Cards and Mothercare fell sharply on Thursday after they became the latest retailers to say that the snow had hit sales over Christmas. Clinton Cards, which also runs.. read more →

06 Jan 2011
January 6, 2011

HMV – three years ago

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As a postscript to my blog entry this morning, I thought I’d mention that just under three years ago there was a blog post about HMV on the Interactive Investor site : Is HMV in the ‘buggy whip’ business? A few quotes: I bought HMV thinking it would go on growing but the question now.. read more →

06 Jan 2011
January 6, 2011

HMV – Highstreet Media Vanishing?

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Another interesting article in the Telegraph has caught my eye: HMV profit warning: can it survive? Now, I am going to have to confess some pro-HMV bias here.  I’ve been involved with them on a number of occasions over the last twenty-five years, I’ve had a beer or two with Mr Fox, and I even.. read more →