Jim Armitage: A dream team in waiting, even if Sir Philip disagrees
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Friday 15 November 2013
Outlook Bon chance, or should it be bon appetit, to Sir Philip Green, in his quest to take on the likes of M&S by flogging food at BHS.
Trouble is, I can't quite see how it's going to work, or what experience this most canny of retailers has in the world of groceries. Sure, he can get good people in (perhaps a return for Sir Stuart Rose – the pair have long kissed and made up since that lapel-tugging incident during Sir Philip's failed attempt to buy M&S).
But Sir Philip is entering a convenience store market already saturated by Tesco, Sainsbury and, to a lesser extent, Morrisons with slick and efficient distribution and vast economies of scale.
One big name not yet on that list, though, is Asda, which only yesterday announced plans to invest £1bn in price cuts. Like BHS, it offers cheaper goods than most rivals, and, like BHS, it doesn't yet have a convenience store format, although, again like BHS, it has said it wants to start one.
Sir Philip says he wants to go it alone on food, saying: "The great thing is if we get it wrong we can eat it ourselves."
But with Sir Philip's locations, and Asda/WalMart's purchasing power, he wouldn't have to. He'd call me a rude word for suggesting it (he once bafflingly told me I was a "fucking onion" due to something I wrote about him), but they should team up. It would be a match made in retail heaven.
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