Credit crisis diary: Virgin Atlantic's festive gift is a snub to BA

Click to follow
The Independent Online

You've got to hand it to Virgin Atlantic's PR department, which never misses an opportunity for a sly dig at the opposition even when it comes to doling out Christmas presents. This year's gift to friends and contacts from the airline is Anti-Monopoly, the board game in which players have to compete on behalf of the free market against "ruthless monopolists". No prizes for guessing which flag-carrying Virgin rival the airline had in mind when it sent out the game.

The sort of advice that just isn't helpful

Woolworth's needs all the help it can get, but the advice published by Little Chef boss Ian Pegler yesterday probably isn't going to save many jobs. Pegler, who rescued Little Chef from administration two years ago, reckons "all you need is love" at Woolies and recommends resurrecting it as a "nostalgia word". Well meant advice, no doubt, but in addition to all that nice love stuff, Woolies also needs £38m to pay off its debts. That's a lot of nostalgia.

Sir Geoff's rescue act comes up short

Nor did the last-minute intervention of Sir Geoff Mulcahy do much to save the retailer from a sticky end. Despite reports in The Sun that the former Woolies boss was ready to ride to the rescue, his cunning plan appears to have amounted to little more than offering to return to the retailer to run it for a few months (presumably he hoped the banks might relax about all that debt with him on board). Cynics might argue that had Mulcahy not presided over the sale of all its stores during his stint at the top, Woolies might be in a better position again. Still, at least he offered.

All you need to do is smarten up your act

While we're on the topic of unhelpful help, how about this self-interested suggestion for struggling companies from Gill Eastgate, a director of Edinburgh-based NKD. She reckons investing in new staff uniforms will "do bucket-loads for corporate image and the overall feelgood factor". And what does Eastgate's company sell? You've guessed it – staff uniforms.

This could turn out to be a long holiday

Are these connected facts? Yesterday, Nissan Motor announced it had appointed a new adviser on retirement issues – the pensions specialist Mercer. Hours later, it emerged that Nissan had sent 3,500 staff home for a long weekend, on the basis that sales did not justify current levels of production. Maybe they're getting a longer break than expected.