THIS ONE is rather like chasing the lottery winner. Asda, the supermarket giant, is extremely proud of the fact that every Christmas all the head office staff slip off for a week and join Archie Norman, the chief executive, working behind the coun ter, slicing bacon, stacking shelves and all the rest of it.

Now I had thought Norman serving the customers in one of their 200-plus shops would have made a rather good picture. Imagine the fellow all dressed up in his Santa outfit making a fool of himself.

Sadly, this was not to be. Asda did not want to play ball. They wouldn't even tell me in which store he was working, the rotters.

But there is some disquiet at the Leeds HQ. Think about it. It employs a lot of people at head office, but what if the place runs perfectly well without them? Asda is cost-conscious, and there are a lot of worried HQ staff stacking shelves thinking that they might well be without a job when they return.