Business Dairy: Not the thin end of the wedge for Sir Stuart

Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose vigorously defends his decision to cut the time customers have to return unwanted products from 90 days to 35 days. M&S has had only five letters on the matter, Sir Stuart says: four were supportive, and the fifth came from a lady angry that after a long but finally successful diet she now finds herself unable to return M&S clothing that is too big.

A notorious name for a banker

You can't do much about the name your parents give you, but spare a thought for the Nomura strategist who writes briefing papers for the investment bank. His sign-off, Mr Macro, reflects the subject about which he writes, but is also a handy sobriquet to hide behind these days. His real name? Fred Goodwin.

IMA notices its own news 10 days late

The Investment Management Association has finally got round to publishing the details of a debate on banking regulation it held 10 days ago. The most interesting part featured JP Morgan investment banking big cheese Bill Winters having a pop at "greedy bankers". His remarks have been reported twice – first when Mr Winters made them and then when he lost out in a reshuffle at JP Morgan – but that didn't stop the IMA press-releasing the debate yesterday.

The black and white world of Travelodge

Shock news: office workers have boring taste in clothes. Travelodge reports that of a staggering 14,786 shirts left in its hotel rooms last year, 60 per cent were white. And of 3,105 lost ties, 40 per cent were black. If you've lost some monochrome clothing, you know who to phone.

Beauty in the supermarket aisles

Tesco must be proud. Not only is Laura Patterson, newly crowned as Miss Ireland, one of its employees, she's determined to stay with the grocer. "I love my job and I've no intention of leaving it," Laura tells her local paper. Will Laura stay loyal if she goes on to win Miss World? Tesco must think so – it has given her November off to take part in the competition.

Number of the day: £47,000

The sterling value of the 5.5 per cent pay cut taken by Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer last year.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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