Pembroke: Shell proves the best thing with sliced bread

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The Independent Online
They must be furious over at Marks & Spencer's head office. It has just lost the title of 'best sandwich maker' to a bunch of petrol stations. At a gala dinner in London (no sarnies), Shell UK scooped the British Sandwich Association award. Shell, which sold more than pounds 10m of sandwiches last year, says its best seller is egg mayonnaise, while stronger flavours such as pickled onion are preferred in the North.

With the award safely tucked in its lunch box, Shell is now on the expansion trail. It is about to launch a series called American triple chicken with such flavours as Louisiana Mexican and Ribshack. Next month it is heading East with some Thai- flavoured offerings.

Gucci, the company that gave the world the loafer and natty handbag, has launched itself into the economic world of the retail price index. Welcome then, the Gucci Timepieces Jewellery Retail Index, its first study of jewellery prices.

Gucci tells us sales growth is coming from high-value watches and diamonds while gold, gemstones and low-value watches are having a tougher time. Kenneth Clarke and Eddie George are no doubt waiting for the document with bated breath.

Shareholders at the Guinness annual meeting yesterday were very nearly granted the mother of all dividends. Anthony Greener, the Guinness chairman, stood up to propose a motion to pass the dividend 'of 19.18p'. 'Point of order, Mr Chairman,' interjected one mustard-keen shareholder. 'That should be 9.18p.' He was, presumably, not the most popular man in the room.

Would that shareholders at Enterprise Oil were so animated. At yesterday's annual meeting in London, a healthy turnout of 400 or more shareholders packed the hall, presumably to grill the board on their plans for the Lasmo takeover bid? Not a bit of it. There wasn't a single question on the subject, though perhaps they are keeping their powder dry for next week's emergency general meeting.

One of London's best-known fish restaurants changed hands yesterday when Scott's was wolfed down by Chez Gerard, the recently floated restaurant group. Chez Gerard paid Bristol Scott's pounds 380,000 for the large English- style eaterie. Chez Gerard chairman Lawrence Isaacson says he does not know how old Scott's is, 'but the last three British monarchs have dined there'.

Mr Isaacson, who this year sponsored the Carnivores Society dinner, was sounding very pleased with himself. 'It used to be a very successful restaurant but has declined over the last few years. We believe will be able to bring it back.'

Interesting to see that Thomson Directories was muscling in on Yellow Pages' football territory in the England v Greece match programme this week. While Yellow Pages helped Bobby Robson and Graham Taylor send a cake to Terry Venables, Thomson has taken the floral route to the footie fan's wallet. 'Find flowers first in the Thomson Directory' read the advert.

What is it about Yorkshire building societies and brass bands? The announcement that Bradford & Bingley is to sponsor the Black Dyke Mills Band brings the number of similar sponsorships to three. Barnsley Building Society sponsors the Barrow Colliery Brass Band while Yorkshire Building Society has linked up with the Hammonds Sauceworks Brass Band. Bradford & Bingley must be pleased with its charges for this is no ordinary crash, bang, wallop brigade. The Black Dyke Mills band has played with former Prime Minister Edward Heath and Paul McCartney.

The three-year pounds 90,000 sponsorship will not mean a name change. Bigwigs at the building society had considered calling their new signing the Bradford & Bingley Black Dyke Mills Brass Band, but decided against it. Too many words to fit on even the largest base drum, presumably.