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Business News

Business Diary: Handbags in the grocery aisles

Children, children. Having spent the past two weeks in price-war overdrive, the marketing departments of our big supermarkets are getting crosser by the day.

In particular, the claim by Asda that its products will always be 10 per cent cheaper than its grocery-sector rivals has sent Tesco's blood pressure through the roof. It is now taking Asda to the AdvertisingStandards Authority. "It's acynical ploy to mislead customers using a flawed comparison that excludes about half of Tesco's range, including lots of products that customers buy every day, such as fruit, veg and meat," a spokesman complains.

A good day to bury bad news

Here's a bit of advice for any public relations department with a spot of unpleasant news to announce: tomorrow looks to be the perfect day to bury it. With the giant vampire squid of banking, Goldman Sachs, due to unveil its results, including the all-important remunerationnumbers on pay and bonuses, there should be no end of negative headlines for everyone else to hide behind.

JP Morgan to move upmarket

JP Morgan was the first bank out of the blocks with a bonus announcement, handing over buckets of dosh to staff worldwide last week. Some of its London staff are going to need the extra cash – the cost of their lunch is about to go through the roof. The specialist paper Financial News reports that some 300 private banking staff at the bank are being switched from the City to Knightsbridge, "to be closer to existing and prospective clients" according to one staffer.

Insulated from chill of austerity

So much for the age of austerity. William McGrath, the boss of Aga Rangemaster, saysbusiness at his company has never been better thanks to well-heeled customers doubling up on the cookers-cum-heaters. "The rise of the electric Aga as the dominant fuel type means people can now programme their stoves so that as the one in the basement kitchen in Knightsbridge goes off onFriday lunchtime, the one in the cottage on the coast comes on in time to heat up the house for the weekend," he explains. Timers? Don't these people have staff?