Column Eight: Seeking a jump in sales

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The Independent Online
Heading for the best-seller list with his book about pre-Jurassic accounting techniques, Terry Smith is learning at first hand the meaning of the words 'the bottom line'.

Yesterday the suspended head of research at UBS Phillips & Drew was signing copies of his heretical work at Books Etc, in Broadgate, London. His grateful publisher is now talking of a fourth print run, claiming that 25,000 to 30,000 copies will have been sold by the end of this week (such books rarely sell more than 2,000 copies).

Mr Smith, who is considering a retaliatory strike following writs from P&D, rates his chances of reinstatement as non-existent. 'I would have to jump off a bridge before they would consider it,' he announced.

'If you do, make sure you do it in Broadgate,' retorted the dapper fellow from the bookshop. 'It will do wonders for the sales.'

Sir Allen Sheppard (Grand Metropolitan) and Sir Colin Marshall (British Airways) aren't the only ones allegedly fuming at 'that book'. Greg Hutchings, the chief executive of Tomkins, owners of the Smith & Wesson gun company, is similarly affronted. 'He put a P in Tomkins,' exploded an aide.

With more resurrections to its name than the Bible, Charles Barker, the public relations firm, can be forgiven for squirming every time it sees one of its old advertisements. This from the Public Relations Consultancy Association handbook:

'For a successful 1993, call us in 1992. Recessions don't last forever . . . as the world's first communications group we've seen it all before.'

As leading receivers will confirm, they most certainly have.

More news of Lord Kagan, the Gannex raincoat man who kept Harold Wilson's shoulders dry before he (Kagan) plumped for an alternative career sewing mailbags. The 77-year-old life peer has chosen the contractor to build his pounds 6m, 93-home development near the Yorkshire village of Nun Monkton.

A planning application is expected to be lodged before the end of the year, when it will be vigorously opposed by the alternative horse racing fraternity. Construction would take place on land owned by York Harness Raceway, in which Lord Kagan has an interest.

A setback for the Napa Valley. Inquiries to the Californian Wine Institute in London are being handled by an Australian.

Banned from preparing exotic concoctions for Nigel Mansell's racing car, Elf, the French petroleum concern, is going up to Oxford to study the geophysics of boreholes. It was a pleasantly surprised Sir Maurice Shock, rector of Lincoln College Oxford, who announced that his college will now receive an index-linked pounds 50,000 a year.

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