Credit crisis diary: Elle turns up, but Paris Hilton costs too much

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The Independent Online

In happier times, Mobile World Congress, the annual telecoms shindig, was full of celebrity action, with any star paid to advertise technology expected to show up and earn their money. Not this year: while Elle Macpherson has turned up in Barcelona for Sony Ericsson, and rapper will.i.am is also scheduled to perform, the only other face in town is Kevin Spacey, who is due to jet in on Thursday. None of the big providers was prepared to shell out the $1m insiders said it would take to get Paris Hilton, who is hardly ever off her phone, to appear.

A new claim to fame for Keegan’s home town

The locals call Scunthorpe “Sunny Scunny”, but what do the town’s famous alumni – think|Liverpool footballing greats Kevin Keegan and Ray Clemence – think about its latest claim to fame? Domino’s Pizza says Scunthorpe is seeing faster growth in online demand for its fare than anywhere else in the country. In other words, Scunthorpe likes pizza and it can’t even be bothered to pick up the phone to order it these days.

Just what the FSA needs: another banker

As the Financial Services Authority faces accusations that it failed to spot any of the warning signs that might have alerted it to impending doom in the banking world, who better for the City regulator to appoint as its new chief operating officer than, erm, another banker. Step forward Mark Norris, who has spent the past 15 years working in banking. His|experience at Credit Suisse, Deutsche and JP Morgan should serve him well in his new post, if only to explain the importance of bonuses.

Asda lets the train take the strain (after 9.30)

Good to see Asda practising what it preaches about saving money. The Wal-Mart-owned grocer, headquartered in Leeds, has banned staff from attending meetings in London that start before 9.30am. Asda says a return ticket from Leeds to London arriving after this time is about £100 cheaper than an earlier train. Every little helps, as another supermarket might say.

L’Oreal finds one reason to keep smiling

In case you were worried, the theory of lipstick economics – that even in tough times, people still make small luxury purchases, in order to cheer themselves up – is alive and kicking. Cosmetics giant L’Oreal published a tough set of numbers yesterday, with sales falling in almost every area of its business. Bar one – lipstick is holding up well, L’Oreal reports.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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