A Rose by any other name would smell sweeter. Or so 22% of M&S shareholders seem to think.

Not only has this week's agm left Sir Stuart - aka the Mugabe of retail - pondering whether a leaving date of 2011 looks optimistic, it has also sparked speculation of a takeover bid from Sainsbury's - the very retailer M&S insisted it wasn't interested in last year after Sir Stuart's infamous "watch this space" gaffe.

Is there any substance in it? Who knows. But surely a merger makes no more sense now than it did last time. As one senior industry figure puts it bluntly: "Putting together two mid-market players with quite different brands as the economy moves into what may turn out to be the worst recession since the last war would be extremely dangerous. The competition would love it."

Meanwhile, with smart money on Sir Stuart being out in 18 months, the search for a successor continues. So who's in the frame? One intriguing suggestion is Andy Bond, who built his reputation with George, understands a bit about value and must be wondering what life would be like if he were let off the Wal-Mart leash. You heard it here first.