CITY DIARY

Yet another ex-Warburger has departed the arms of newly-combined SBC Warburg. Nicholas Denniston, still a spring chicken at 40, leaves his directorship in the corporate finance division to join the Commonwealth Development Corporation as director of finance. It is not thought that SBC's chief executive Marcel Ospel's new tie-less regime had much to do with the decision.

Denniston worked happily for 13 years in the corporate finance division. He obviously left his mark, as SBC's human resources department still think he works there.

Sainsbury's gets hip. The food retailer is looking for new recruits in the unlikely surrounds of the Hippodrome nightclub in Leicester Square. In what is billed as "Sainsbury's Unwrapped", for two days - and early evenings - next week (30/31 August) A-level students can get down and check out Sainsbury's as a potential employer.

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said the careers open day is the first of its type and is aimed at unearthing more than 100 graduate and A-level retail management trainees. "There's a bit of kudos attached to the place," the spokesman said, "and we want to attract the sort of person that would go to the Hippodrome."

What next - raving in the aisles? You have been warned.

Bootlegging is big business, but its less sexy brother, "diversion" is not so well known. Diversion, where tax-free goods for export do not actually leave the country but go straight into UK storage or sales outlets, has caused Customs & Excise a multi-million-pound headache. But yesterday C&E announced it had smashed its biggest-ever case of excise duty fraud, with no less than 250 officers up and about early to catch their worms. All good stuff except for the name chosen for the raids: Operation Fluke.

Ex-professional tennis player Austen Faulkner had so much faith in his company's product that he turned down a job with Goldman Sachs to set up as a board game maker. Now managing director of Octavia Design, he plans to take on the big boys of the game-making world, Hasbro and Mattell, with a new range of audio-visual board games , such as Video Karaoke Challenge and crossword mind-bender Torment. Faulkner, who continued to coach and play professional tennis during his company's inaugural year, is supported by ex-Kemp-Gee business analyst John Hewitt and the chairman of MFI, Derek Hunt.

The water companies' famously leaky pipes may not be refreshing enough parts at the moment, but a new offer dreamt up at Corney & Barrow's Monument branch seems to be going down a storm.

The wine bar decided to hit back at slack trade caused by rising temperatures. Each hour staff can be seen rushing outside to check whether a specially mounted thermometer has hit the magic 75F mark. If it has, the price of a magnum of house wine drops from pounds 17 to an irresistible pounds 9.99.

The result? Lots more punters at C&B, which reports sales of around 25 to 30 magnums a day since the offer was introduced last week.

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