Business Diary: Lord Sugar learns official speak

Lord Sugar seems to be catching on to this politics lark. Yesterday, a day after an intemperate public rant about the small firms he's supposed to be championing in his new Government post, The Apprentice star issued this statement: "It is unfortunate that my words have been taken out of context". Nick and Margaret have obviously been in touch with some PR advice.

Preaching to the converted

Lord Burns will be welcomed by staff at Channel Four once he takes up the post of chairman of the broadcaster. Just four years ago, Lord Burns wrote a report for the Government that recommended top-slicing the BBC licence fee to provide cash for other causes. Channel Four, of course, has been suggesting something similar all year – it has itself in mind as one of the lucky recipients.

Someone tell them the war is over

There's something marvellously unreconstructed about a press release issued yesterday by the posh tailor Charles Tywright, heralding its success in exporting to Germany. It was headlined: "Achtung! British shirtmaker sews up German market". Somebody has been reading rather to many comics from the 1950s.

The spirit of Woolies lives on

Congratulations to Alworths, which opened its first store in Didcot, Oxfordshire, yesterday and plans four more new launches before Christmas. The retailer bills itself as Woolworths mark two, selling similar stock and with similar branding. It chose yesterday to open because it would have been the 100th anniversary of Woolworths itself, had the retailer not gone bust earlier this year.

Shock: early arrival on East Coast line

It's a cheap gag but someone has to do it. Is the early privatisation of National Express's East Coast service, which the Government will take over next week rather than in December as planned, the first time something has arrived ahead of schedule on the line?

Number of the day: 200bn

The number of oven chips sold by McCain since it brought the product to the world 30 years ago this week.

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