Bunhill: Where cash flows

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The Independent Online
THE ANCIENT art of fung shui, ensuring that man is at one with nature, works, OK. Don't take my word for it, just believe Sir Richard Greenbury. In his statement to the company's AGM, the down-to-earth chairman of Marks & Sparks went out of his way to claim 'particularly good sales in Hong Kong'. And this is where fung shui comes in. Marks has been acutely aware of the need to take account of local customs every since it had to install changing rooms in its Paris store 20 years ago. Hence the readiness to respond to rather more esoteric local customs in Hong Kong, where M&S has sold its UK range of shirts and men's suits to a steadily increasing number of locals - and tourists from throughout South-east Asia - since it opened its first store in 1988.

This and subsequent expansions have been guided by a local version of St Michael, an adviser on fung shui, or how to ensure that man and nature are all in balance. This has implications on, for instance, the shapes of buildings and the way they and interior doors should face so that good forces can come in. Flowing water helps, hence the fish tanks located close to or facing entrances (flowing water equals flowing money). A scattering of stone lions and turtles provides an aura of power and prosperity, embellished by other lions in limestone and, a really important touch, jade. You should see the takings - which are kept in a corner of the store, protected by a clock which faces in the shuiest (or should it be fungiest?) direction.