Is a week a long time in politics? I’m not sure.
As you read this you will know the result of the General Election, but by my best guestimate it’s taken David Cameron the best part of a year to squander a 14-point lead in the polls.
On the other hand, this has most definitely been a long and intrigue-filled week in grocery retailing.
It started last Thursday when, with a cover letter ironically signed off as “A co-operator”, one of the directors of The Co-operative Group leaked a report showing that sales of converted Somerfield stores were actually performing worse than unconverted ones.
It’s been very hard to assess The Co-op’s true performance to date via normal routes such as Nielsen and Kantar, as the disposals forced upon it by the OFT have made like-for-like comparisons impossible.
But the inference that The Co-op would be better off converting ex-Somerfield stores back to the original fascia suggests, as well as losing control of his tightly managed PR machine, Peter Marks has probably not managed expectations within The Co-op as well as he might.
Over the Bank Holiday, The Co-op chairman Len Wardle was forced to offer his support for the beleaguered CEO. And Marks also offered a spirited defence of The Co-op’s strategy in an exclusive interview with The Grocer this week.
Whether Wardle’s endorsement is the equivalent of a football club chairman’s dreaded vote of confidence, we shall have to see but, in the meantime, a number of very senior seats have been vacated among other leading retailers.
As Marc Bolland joined Marks & Spencer as CEO this week, finance director Ian Dyson quit. Will Richard Pennycook now join him from Morrisons? And with the intriguing departure of Darren Blackhurst from Asda, will Waitrose commercial director Richard Hodgson now return to Leeds?
My spies tell me he was in Bradford on Thursday evening. At a local Caravan fundraiser. Hmmm.