Former Iceland man unveils plan to defrost UK retail

Bill Grimsey, once head of Iceland and the now defunct Focus DIY, is offering us his thoughts on reviving the high street

It has been a few months since we last had a review of the British high street, so we are long overdue another.

This week it's the turn of Bill Grimsey – once boss of Iceland owner Big Food Group and DIY chain Focus – who, in that self-effacing way of his, is volunteering his own retail manifesto.

History teaches us that these reports usually end up looking as homogeneous as most UK town centres, but even if Grimsey has decent ideas, one wonders if he's the man to present them.

His period running Iceland is best remembered for: (a) the profit warning that prompted an investigation into founder Malcolm Walker's share sales (he was exonerated); and (b) Grimsey's modest accomplishments, which are now hilariously lampooned by Walker on Iceland's website as: "The one, two, three, four, five year recovery plan!".

BFG's constituent parts performed inconveniently well for Grimsey once he left, but there's always the next job.

On becoming Focus boss in 2007, he proclaimed it had "the potential to be one of the most successful operators in the DIY sector". Four years later, with Grimsey in the chair, it went bust.

So why might he be sharing his cure for the high street now? Could it be to drum up sales for his book? It's called Sold Out and, before you ask, it hasn't. The tome currently charts at 97,014th in Amazon's bestsellers rank.

Soccer speculation goes into extra time

It is that time in the footballing year when we have to endure seemingly constant speculation about who might bid for whom. If you've had enough of all that with this year's tedious transfer window, which mercifully shuts tomorrow, then you'll be gutted to learn you'll be getting another dose on Tuesday when Goals Soccer Centres, which hires out five-a-side football pitches, unveils its interim numbers.

At this stage of the season, of course, nobody pays much attention to results, as it's far more fun talking about possible deals. That's likely to be true for Goals, where internet discussion boards (the City's equivalent of the radio phone-in) are full of tales that someone is about to buy the company. Its shares have risen by around 17% over the past couple of months.

Still, we have been here before. A year ago the company suffered an embarrassing own goal when its shareholders failed to back a £73m bid from a Canadian pension fund that the company's board had recommended they accept. Also, there is an intriguing debate to be had in the City about what is more unreliable: stories of footballing transfers or corporate takeovers.

Penalties for failure and other novel ideas

Excluding the odd hackneyed PR line, bankers have been remarkably reticent about expressing remorse for their roles in the financial crisis – often giving the impression they'd rather leave their wives on Simon Cowell's yacht than admit any failings.

But there are those taking a more critical look at the causes of the catastrophe that erupted within their industry, including thinktanks such as the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation and the New City Initiative (NCI). Their considered approach continues this week at an NCI event in Westminster when Tory MP and Treasury select committee member Mark Garnier delivers his latest speech on the future of financial regulation.

It promises to be an intriguing talk, not least because Garnier knows the City's tricks, having spent his first career there, while in his second calling he's lambasted its obvious foibles.

He's an eloquent supporter of (among other things) linking pay to failure as well as success. Or, as he puts it: there's no better way of reducing risk than bankers waking up at 3am and realising a trade might result in a "son being thrown out of Eton for unpaid school fees or a daughter having her pony repossessed by the bailiffs at the gymkhana". When those things happen, you do get remorse. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Business Feeds

0 nhận xét:

Post a Comment