Business Diary: Stobart turns the other cheek


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The Independent Online

It's great fun being the chief executive of a public company because you can justify spending shareholders' money on your hobby. Take Stobart Group boss Andrew Tinkler, who has been lauded in the sports pages for the success of his racehorses.

His company, famed for the green lorries that are emblazoned with its name, now sponsors the breeches of a number of jockeys who have its logo adorned across their bottoms. Still, does Stobart Group really want to be so closely associated with riders' rears?

How the Iron Lady was proved right

As the eurozone crisis continues, City sage David Buik recalls fondly the words of his heroine Margaret (now Baroness) Thatcher in his blog: "Europe is a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure: only the scale of the final damage is in doubt." He is at least honest enough to note that it was Mrs T who signed the Single European Act.

Retailers long for Christmas

It is 1 November at last, so it is, of course, time to put the Christmas trees up – well, at least it is if you're Tesco, whose stores are now festooned. Seriously chaps, we know you've got to do whatever you can to encourage sales, given the great consumer squeeze and all that, but isn't dusting the decorations off this early likely to irritate more people than it enthuses? Not that Tesco is alone – Boots has just invited us to a screening of its Christmas ad spots.

Co-op's plans for final curtain

The banks excel at cross-selling, the art of flogging stuff to customers who popped into the branch only to pay in a cheque. Still, is the Co-operative Bank's latest idea pushing it a little? Big in funeral plans, the Co-op Group has persuaded its banking subsidiary to start selling the schemes on its behalf. Best of luck to the counter staff asked to try their luck with customers on that one.