I have always had a soft spot for former Iceland boss Malcolm Walker and his shoot-from-the-hip style of management. Even when he was being a bit ­ well, how can I put this? ­ economical with the truth. No, I am not talking here about share dealing scandals. Rather about the time I contacted Walker on his mobile last autumn to ask whether Iceland had effected a strategic U-turn and implemented a high:low pricing strategy. Walker said: why do you ask? Well, I replied, I have seen your new tv ad focusing on deep price cuts rather than multibuys, and wondered what that was all about. Walker insisted the ads were designed to fill a gap before the Christmas campaign. "We just cobbled together the deal ad to fill the gap and will do it again in January. I thought it was quite strong but the deals are not different," he said. So imagine my surprise when I opened the Iceland annual report this week and read new chief executive Bill Grimsey's views on the group's ill-fated decision to move to a high:low pricing policy with mad' deals designed to attract customer visits. But the change in activity led only to disappointing results. A heavyweight multibuy programme was reintroduced for Christmas. Unfortunately, the high prices across the rest of the range remained in place ­ making Iceland very uncompetitive. And when did this farce happen? Grimsey says the U-turn took place last October ­ shortly before I rang his predecessor to ask why he had moved to a high:low strategy. Fancy that! {{COUNTERPOINT }}