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Outlook: A rosy future even if he fails ...

Poor Stuart Rose. He's been out of a job since July, having been passed over for both top jobs in the now demerged Burton Group. For a while, it looked as if he might shoe horn his way into the vacant chief executive's shoes at WH Smith, but that strategy failed too. Everyone deserves a break, however, and thanks to Mike Smith's illness, he now finds himself parachuted in to man the defences at Argos.

Someone's got to do it, and it may well be that Mr Rose was cheap at the price. Certainly he was immediately available, unlike most other capable retailers. Even so, Mr Rose must be feeling like he just won the lottery, for if he fails to see off GUS, he'll be trousering pounds 540,000 by way of consolation prize. Not bad for less than two months work. This may be an old fashioned view, but surely that sort of money is usually reserved for outstanding business success?