Credit crisis diary: 02/12/2008

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The Independent Online

Return to the Thirties at Peter Jones

Peter Jones, the John Lewis store on Sloane Square in London, is to provide shoppers with a glimpse of pre-war glamour by holding a night of ballroom dancing at its store next Wednesday. Tapping into the fever around the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, John Lewis will transform the store's central atrium into a ballroom for one evening only, and two of the show's star will perform a twirl. In fact, the Peter Jones store had a separate ballroom built during the 1930s that remained in use until 1999. But with trading on the high street the worst in living memory it might not just be the dancing that reminds customers of the pre-war period.

Not a black day for headline-writers

The job of writing headlines about Phorm, the advertising technology company, became a whole lot easier yesterday after it hired a former Tory chancellor and a high-profile banker as non-executive directors, following a management reshuffle. Norman Lamont, below, famous for being in charge at the Treasury on Black Wednesday in 1992, will help, if any was needed, with any "Black..." headlines. And Stefan Allesch-Taylor, chief executive of the investment bank Fairfax, who used to keep piranhas in his office, will surely take care of any stories about being bitten by the credit crunch.

Treating your true love will cost 8% more

For any romantics thinking of showering their partner with gifts based on the 12 days of Christmas, a 33.3 per cent increase in the price of seven swans-a-swimming is the biggest contributor to an overall 8.1 per cent uplift to $21,080 (£14,071) for the price of the 12 categories, according to a survey by PNC Wealth Management. Maybe for the hard-pressed merely singing the tune, along with countless other annoying Christmas ballads, will suffice. Or maybe a romantic walk to the local park to feed swans with bread bought at Aldi, the discounter, on the 25th may be enough.

A gift from the man with white hair

Santa will deliver an early present for Pontins customers who have already booked to spend the festive period at the holiday park operator. After the cut in VAT, Pontins is sending 5,000 cheques to customers refunding them for 2.5 per cent of the amount they paid for their holiday. While this is costing Pontins a considerable sum, they had a lucky escape because they were producing next year's brochure last week and managed to make the VAT price changes in the nick of time. Maybe there is a PR opportunity for the white-haired Chancellor to don a beard, dress up in a Santa's outfit and head down to Pontins.