Business Diary: Asos can afford to be complacent on strike

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"You love them or hate them, but we still use them. Customers want their products delivered as quickly and cheaply as they can and Royal Mail is still one of the cheapest," said Nick Robertson, boss of online fashion specialist Asos, pictured right with his finance director Nick Beighton.

Robertson kept his personal views on posties to himself, although he did say that their strike hit his UK sales by a "few percentage points". This is of course, Asos, whose UK sales rose 23 per cent in the seven weeks to 15 November and is in a rather stronger position than smaller retailers who probably use stronger language when they talk about the strikers.

Is the goose cooked for empty 1 Lombard?

A casualty of the recession? Anyone who's breakfasted at 1 Lombard Restaurant recently will have noticed how sparsely populated its tables have become. Diary was all but a lone patron yesterday morning and had the pick of the tables, something hard to imagine when the good times were rolling. Never really loved, it always used to be the place you'd go for a City meeting if you couldn't think of anywhere else. Perhaps they now have.

Japan's trade minister is in a bit of a pickle

A real novice's error by the Trade Minister in Japan's new Democratic Party government yesterday. Masayuki Naoshima, above, began a speech to oil industry bigwigs with a run-through of the (good) third-quarter growth figure at 8am (local time), more than half an hour before the official release. "I honestly didn't know it was due to be released at 8.50am," he said later. "I apologise for causing trouble." Fortunately for him, it appears nobody was sharp enough at that time in the morning to use the information for insider trading. The yen was down until the official announcement was made.

Admiral could do with a dose of humility

The pubs group Admiral Taverns was "pleased to confirm" its restructuring in a statement yesterday. Usually you are "pleased" with a blockbuster deal or such unfashionable news as making money. What is pleasing about a rescue that stuffs shareholders by handing control of the business to the main bank whose loans cannot be repaid is beyond us.

Number of the day: $1.2bn

The loss racked up by General Motors since the US car-maker emerged from bankruptcy in July