At very long last, the political pawn that was the hot pasty is no longer dominating the headlines. On the other hand, it was a very effective smokescreen from the troubles in the trade, troubles that the continuing increase in Brent crude and the soaring cost of rye this week do nothing to alleviate.
In wholesale, there was no saving the old Danish Bacon Company, DBC. This week we report this week on the continuing fallout from its collapse into administration, with the loss of 561 jobs and counting.
On the supplier side, only Lion Capital’s emergency cash injection and a renegotiation of debt last week saved Findus Group, following some equally frantic negotiations with bankers at Premier Foods in the past few weeks.
And on the retail side, this week’s re-emergence of Game came at the expense of 277 of its 610 stores and the loss of 2,100 jobs a rebalancing of the books, following the implosion at Eismann wasn’t enough to sustain the phoenix-like Eskimo while last week also saw the sad demise of R&M Swaine, and its Rhythm & Booze fascia, snapped up by Costcutter after overstretching itself through an overambitious purchase of 37 former Thresher stores.
In times like these, good news is welcome. So when Pret a Manger announced 550 jobs this week, it was understandably splashed all over the papers. And hopefully this is one of those job creation schemes that turns out to be straightforward.
A similar instinct seems to direct the media when jobs are saved. In the event, the fact that 2,800 jobs were genuinely saved at Game Group at the weekend received scant coverage while the BBC, ITV and Retail Week all talked about how MidCounties ‘saved’ 450 jobs following its acquisition of Tuffins on Tuesday.
What tosh! Tuffins was a great business, one of the only independents to successfully convert former Somerfield stores it picked up. It’s sad to see another independent snapped up by the co-operative movement, but that’s a compliment to the work of the Delves family, not another independent operator going to the dogs.