Mark Leftly: Weather is bad excuse for poor trading

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The Independent Online

Outlook French and German investors laugh at British companies and the Chancellor, George Osborne, when they blame poor trading and economic figures on the weather. Changing seasons are a fact of life, they argue, so they can't be singled out as explanations for bad results.

M&B and Enterprise Inns both said that cold weather and snow had hurt them in recent weeks. The latter, owner of 6,000 pubs, said a "loss of beer volume" cost it £1.5m.

Admittedly, the weather is not uniform one year to the next, but snow and icy conditions are not so remarkable that a well-run business fails to have plans in place to counter their effects.

Construction companies use a similar trick when it accounts for contract failures, such as overspending on projects in an industry where profit margins are wafer thin, as one-off problems.

Bad contracts are so rife that they cannot be considered separate from everyday trading.

It's time for companies to stop blaming the weather and actually come up with plans that nullify the financial pain it causes.