Column Eight: Buyers turn nosey
Wednesday 16 September 1992
He is examining a complaint from Kingfisher, which owns the Superdrug chain. Kingfisher is chafing at the refusal of the big parfumiers (including Yves St Laurent and Givenchy), to supply Superdrug stores, claiming they do not measure up to certain retail criteria.
The canny buyers at Superdrug have got round the boycott by purchasing supplies indirectly through third parties who are less picky. But they can only get enough of the stuff to stock a handful of shops; hence the complaint.
Nigel Whittaker, corporate affairs director of Kingfisher and a lawyer by training, is wisely tight-lipped about where the perfume comes from, talking vaguely of 'the grey market'.
'If you want to continue to buy cheap perfumes in Superdrug, I suggest we don't talk about it. But it is pukka,' he adds reassuringly.
At Watmough Holdings, which prints the Mail on Sunday's magazine, the chairman, Patrick Walker, spoke highly of his company's astrological insert into You - written by the star-gazers' favourite, Patric Walker. 'Ah-ha,' observed one analyst wittily. 'That'll be the Patric Walker who gives successful forecasts then. . .'
The curious thing about Hugh Stevenson, the newly appointed chairman of Mercury Asset Management, is that, professionally, he has never managed any money and 'has no intention of doing so'.
Strange, then, that he has taken over from Peter Stormonth Darling as head of a fund management company that controls pounds 44bn worth of assets. Still, MAM's performance of late has not been as sparkling as the City has come to expect and Mr Stevenson yesterday shed some light on the situation. 'I've come to hold it all together,' he said. So now we know.
Shining Path, the Peruvian guerrilla group whose leader has just been slammed into prison, is considering moving its European headquarters to London from Sweden. If the group does reach London, it should be urged to take up residence in Docklands. There it will quickly become a lost cause in sympathy with its surroundings.
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Ellen DeGeneres leads Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany in revealing game of Never Have I Ever
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
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