Business Diary: Why defunct pubs make great surgeries

The British Beer & Pub Association has revealed that a record 52 pubs close in Britain ever week, but not everyone is crying into their pint. An insolvency expert told the Diary that many pubs are being converted into dentists', vets' and doctors' surgeries. Pubs often make excellent surgeries as they have a powerful supply of running water and flats above them, he said. The local coppers will no doubt welcome fewer fights come closing time as well.

Hacks toast as Voda marches on Azerbaijan

Vodafone flew its senior press team out to Azerbaijan this week to big up the launch of its partnership with local player Azerfon. Unfortunate timing for the company if it wanted blanket coverage in the local press, as the hacks were celebrating National Press Day. It was the 85th anniversary of the launch of the first independent magazine in the former Soviet Union, and they were "refreshing" themselves as only journalists know how. Next up, Vodafone partners with Eircom on St Patrick's Day.

Glaxo boss Witty gets snappy over Chequers

GlaxoSmithKline hit the headlines yesterday for the money it's making out of the swine flu epidemic. Its chief executive, Andrew Witty, happily took questions on the financial benefits of the pandemic and security measures to guard against theft. He was a little taken aback by questions about a lunchtime chat with Gordon Brown at Chequers. "That was ages before swine flu," he snapped, "and anyway we ate chicken." Presumably pork hasn't made a comeback on the Chequers menu recently.

Citizen's Pietersen ploy is hit for six

Marketing teams should beware of working with children, animals and sportsmen when advertising products. Citizen presumably spent big money on tying its Eco-Drive watch to the Ashes series by getting one of the star players to promote it. The campaign ran yesterday with the tag line "It's unstoppable. Just like the people who wear it." They chose Kevin Pietersen, who was ruled out of the remaining three Test matches on Wednesday after an operation on his Achilles tendon.

Number of the day: 4%

The reduction in household water bills between 2010 and 2015 demanded by the industry regulator Ofwat.

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