Business Diary: Blessed are the BT peacemakers

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The Independent Online

BT was no doubt expecting fisticuffs when launching its cut-price offer of Sky Sports this week – the feud with its rival has, after all, been pretty bitter.

But at least the corporate sparring was all verbal – unlike the unseemly fight that broke out between two tabloid journalists at BT's HQ. The two hacks, who were supposed to be covering BT's launch, had to be separated by press officers after they got into a row about who had pinched whose story.

English vodka wins award

Good to know England can still take on the world. Well done to Chase Vodka, a charming business based in Herefordshire, whose product has just been judged the best in the world. Chase took on 249 rivals – including the big names from Russia and Poland – at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and came out on top. For founder William Chase, it's further proof of the wonder of British potatoes – he made his name with Tyrrells, the posh crisp company he sold to private equity for £30m two years ago.

French business shows the way

British business could learn a thing or two from France, where Laurence Parisot has just been elected president of the Mouvement des Entreprises de France, their equivalent of the CBI, for a second three-year term. Ms Parisot says she spent her first three years highlighting "antiquated practices that hinder the drivers of growth for all businesses", but at least the French have been modern enough to give a woman the job of representing the business sector. The CBI, where the top job is currently up for grabs, should take note.

The varied taste of shoppers

We are enjoying Poundland's breakdown of the biggest sellers amongst the 30 new products it introduced in its discount shops last month. Northerners can't get enough of its Oxo Beef Cubes, but in the Midlands they're going wild for Wright Watchers' Cheese Puffs. In the South, meanwhile, the star performer is the Cadbury's Brunch Bar. You decide what this says about Poundland shoppers around the nation.