Everything must go

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Intriguing news from the high street: they're fighting to get into C&A, the clothing-store chain which announced that it was closing last week due to lack of interest. From Woking to Glasgow, the story is the same: racks besieged by shoppers - some of them reported to be in tears at the news - and staff begging for mercy as sales have quadrupled.

Intriguing news from the high street: they're fighting to get into C&A, the clothing-store chain which announced that it was closing last week due to lack of interest. From Woking to Glasgow, the story is the same: racks besieged by shoppers - some of them reported to be in tears at the news - and staff begging for mercy as sales have quadrupled.

What we have here is what can be termed the Joni Mitchell Effect. Ms Mitchell, you will remember, said: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?" Shoppers clearly feel the same, whipped up into a state of acquisitive nostalgia by those pictures of Man at C&A in his tank-top, his cravat and his moustache.

The surest way now to boost sales in your long-established but flagging product is to announce its demise. Think, if you will, of Roy of the the Rovers, Rover, Subbuteo and Heinz Salad Cream. Food for thought here, surely, for William Hague. And a clear message for C&A. Don't go: just bring back that Man!

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