Having lived through rationing, decimalisation, the relaunch of Nimble (11s 6d) and the return of Bananarama, I can honestly say very little surprises your Pat these days. Even so, I have to confess I was a little disappointed to see Mr Norman being entrusted with supervising the decline of Marks & Sparks.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’ll make a huge success of the task. But because you and I feel like old friends I’m going to let you into a little secret.
You see, I’ve been thinking that Pat’s Mart could use a bit of a change of direction. My core business model of buying things at a certain price and selling them at a slightly (OK, sometimes unimaginably) higher price has served me well over the years, but when you compare it with all the fancy new strategies that have served so well at Woolies, BHS, JJB, Comet and so on, well, I’m beginning to look just a little fusty.
Happily, most of the intellectual giants that put these plans together are still active in the industry. And so, after a recent visit to Homebase to see the outstanding work Mr Norman did in helping transform the once-poor DIY retailer into the love child of B&Q and Poundland, I wrote to him to see if he wouldn’t mind joining me as the strategic mastermind at the very top of my burgeoning retail conglomerate (this shop plus Pavlina’s regular plot at the boot sale).
I can only imagine my letter never got to him. Which is rather strange, since my application for the chairman’s job at Marks seems to have got lost as well. Forgive my hubris, but given some of Mr Rowe’s recent senior appointments I assumed my complete unsuitability would have made me a shoo-in for the role.