Up to town this week to visit Peter Freeman, the ultra-cautious chairman of the Competition Commission, to see if we could get an early steer on the Emerging Thinking document. Not surprisingly, he wouldn't be drawn. On anything. "Can't you even tell us which supermarket you shop at?" we asked. "No," he replied. "I didn't even tell Justin King when he asked me if I shopped at the Sainsbury's store in Bath." Freeman refused to confirm if he even shops in supermarkets at all. "I don't tend to do the shopping, but can confirm the Freeman family does shop in retail establishments." Still, even if he was giving nothing away, at least we can draw two conclusions from the knowledge that he lives in Bath - he clearly doesn't shop at Tesco or Asda.
Freeman also gave short shrift to the suggestion the inquiry had snubbed Wales, following our story in last week's issue. "We can't imagine anything more foolish than not to go to Wales," he said. "Not least", he added, "because my wife is Welsh."
So, we invited the press officers of five large multiples as guests at the Caravan lunch last Friday. As well as a chance to break bread with the new editor, Peter Alliss was after-dinner speaker, and comedian Dominic Holland provided a risqué set. Not a bad invite, then. So imagine our surprise when only ONE of the press officers arrived. Sainsbury's and Somerfield had the good grace to blow us out in advance, but we're still waiting for an apology/flowers from Asda and the Co-operative Group. And who was the only press officer to show up? Jon Church. Of Tesco, of course.