Sainsbury’s Chief Exec. Mike Coupe has finally bought Argos from the Home Retail Group. But only after HRG sold-off it’s Homebase DIY business to boost the share price to 171p/ share which is 75% more than when Mike started sniffing round HRG in January. This may have left him a little bit nervous about the dividends he’ll be able to deliver as he’d promised the City he would not pay over the odds and be able to continue generating profits. He’s hoping that slotting Argos into underused Sainsbury stores and selling-off redundant Argos units will save a lot of costs for both.
Sainsbury have been looking to diversify from Supermarkets and eyeing-up Argos and it’s proven delivery service since January. Mike has announced ‘I genuinely have no idea in 10 years’ time how customers will shop but we need to anticipate the possibilities. There may be someone in California who is inventing the equivalent of Uber or Airbnb for our industry. You might want some of your grocery shop to be delivered to the local store, some to your home or you might have a really urgent problem where you want it within an hour or two’. And of course Argos can drop off your new X-box at the same time. Full marks for honesty Mike but it comes with a £1.4 billion price tag and leaves nervous City investment analysts and stressed Argos employees studying the closure plans.
A proven way to soothe your nerves and reduce workplace stress (according to US Researchers) is to take your best friend – your dog – to work. Amazon, Etsy and Google now allow office workers to bring their furry friend into the workplace and this lifts morale, reduces absenteeism and increases productivity according to the University of Virginia. In Northern Italy a privatelyowned supermarket, Unes of Luino has taken this one stage further and allows Shoppers to take their dog shopping in a specially-designed trolley complete with lined basket from which Fido can enjoy the view. There are some obvious size restrictions (have you ever tried lifting a Saint Bernard?) but apparently turnover has soared as delighted pet owners have visited the store.
Owner Gianfranco Galantini dislikes seeing barking dogs tied up in the rain outside his shop. Now Shoppers can take all the time they need to make purchases without worrying about their pet’s welfare. ‘So far’, Gianfranco says, ‘no dog has caused any problem except for one which barked the first time’. The UK is of course a well-known nation of dog-lovers so maybe our Supermarkets should follow his example. Unfortunately, Korean Supermarkets have done so already but there Fido is more likely to end up in a casserole.
Building surveyors also tend to get nervous during storms, and often with good reason. ‘Storm Gertrude’ (who dreams up these names?) was no exception and exposed two major failings. Firstly it pushed over a school wall which made Edinburgh City Council ask if their PFI (Private Finance Initiative) partnership to build Schools with Miller Construction had been such a good idea. Someone seemed to have pruned the specification or the brickies simply left out the wall ties or no-one checked their work – all of which is a bit basic. This prompted the City Council to order their Building Standards Surveyor to show this was nothing to worry about by standing under the partiallycollapsed wall without a safety helmet. The Council then told him to go home and join all the other wee bairns whilst they closed down another 16 schools.
Secondly, it ruined my planned weekend salmon fishing on the Tay. This is appalling. Something must be done.