Pembroke: Unsporting types at Austin Reed

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The Independent Online
CHRIS Thomson, the dapper wee Scot who does the sums for gentlemen's outfitter Austin Reed, has noticed an unfortunate trend. The shops, which specialise in City garb, introduced a range of casual wear last year called Sportsman. The problem is that the trendy jackets, etc, have proved popular with those thin of wallet and light of finger. 'I'm not saying we have a shoplifting problem. We don't. But anecdotal evidence suggests certain disreputable sections of society like this kind of brand.'

GLOOM for NatWest Markets analyst Robert Donald after he sent out two circulars recommending to buy and sell the same stock. The notes, one on Ibstock Johnsen and the other on Raine Industries, came with the helpful recommendation 'Add/Reduce' at the top. Was Mr Donald trying to hedge his bets or trying to get both sides of the business?

'It was a mistake,' he fumed. 'We were running late and the proof-reader didn't pick it up. You can take the Mickey another day but not today. I'm tired.' A fresh, more decisive set of notes is on its way to clients.

Raymond James & Associates, the US investment house that moved to London in 1989, is looking to beef up its presence in the City. Richard Furber, who ran Dean Witter in London for eight years, joined in August as managing director and is busy recruiting. Andy Ralph joined this week from Lehman Brothers to head the fixed-income division, and Mr Furber says he is looking to add 15 more to the team. 'It's not exactly mass recruiting, but it should make our boutique a bit bigger,' he says.

LORD King, British Airways' life president and professional gladhander, will be back in the public eye today when he pops up at the Business Traveller Awards at the Savoy. The former chairman is being airlifted in to collect the Best Airline award. After being snubbed by British astronaut Helen Sharman last month - she declined to appear in BA's Club Class commercials - the travel industry nobleman may be disappointed that he has to share the podium with another astronaut, Buzz Aldrin. Or BA, as Lord King will probably call him.

PUBLIC relations agency Consolidated Communications was crowing yesterday about a snappy business win. It pitched to advertising agency DMB&B and was awarded the business within minutes of returning to the office.

Perhaps it was a musical pitch. It is well-known in the red bow- tie world of advertising that DMB&B's joint chairman, Tony Douglas, initiated a famous campaign after singing 'Just One Cornetto' at a Wall's Ice Cream presentation.

For their trouble, Consolidated's gifted creative types get to apply their skills to DMB&B's challenging list of clients, including the California Prune Board.

TRAFFICMASTER, the company that makes gizmos that spot traffic jams in advance, was getting terribly excited yesterday about the opening of its new control centre in Milton Keynes. Unfortunately, the company's top brass had to wait more than half an hour to greet Stephen Norris, the transport minister, who was on ribbon- snipping duty. Caught up in traffic, obviously.