If you are reading this bulletin from a location north of Oxford you may never have heard of Crussh (with the unnecessary additional 's'), as it is a healthy food and juice branded chain based in London and the south of England. Is it fair to say you may also not have heard of 'a salad' or 'a courgette' either?
There may be no need for you to extend your vocabulary to include Crussh, as they are within the depth of a mange tout skin of filing notice of intention to appoint Administrators. It was reported that the chain was in talks with FRP about its options, with first round bids for the company being sought by the end of December. Crussh’s latest financial statement showed that the brand had seen a large dip in sales between 2020 and 2021, dropping from £14.1 million to £2.9 million during this period. It appears there is a limit to the amount a dash of wheat grass can shore up a balance sheet. More news is expected on this in March.
It seems that 'the perfect storm' over the heads of retailers, hospitality companies, fast food chains and sandwich outlets was not quite as perfect as it seemed last year and now we have the additional tornado of midweek strikes orchestrated by the RMT being regarded as inflicting maximum damage on the ancillary white-collar economy. The pebble of a cancelled train in Southampton causes ripples in a juicer in Watford and a salad tray in Warrington, it seems.
Meanwhile, along the coloured collar chain, many blue-collar workers have been forced to take circuitous and sometimes more expensive routes to work. “Kitchen porters and waiters who are not half as well paid as rail workers are having to spend three hours changing buses four times getting to work in the cold and getting home at night after a late shift,” said Julia Hobsbawm, author of The Nowhere Office, adding that office workers were returning to full-time working from home patterns established during Covid, rather than stand on a station platform in Basingstoke.
The British Retail Consortium reported last week that footfall for December 2022 as a whole was down 7.3 per cent compared with 2019, the cold snap and strike action of railway workers causing many to close their front doors and bask in the relative warmth of a laptop screen to buy pointless Christmas fayre. Mind you, online shopping was also affected by strikes by more than a 100,000 postal workers who delayed the delivery of parcels until at least Easter. That cheese hamper is going to start to honk a bit before it is finally delivered.
Aren't these people even vaguely interested in the good news being hawked around this morning (Monday 9 January)? If you scroll down seven or eight metres on your news screens, past the ginger whingeing and senseless commentary about ... the ginger whingeing, you will see that tumbling gas prices, thanks to unseasonably warm weather, could save the Government billions of pounds in energy subsidies and debt interest payments. The news is BIG ... the UK’s wholesale gas prices dipped below pre-Ukraine war levels in January, to as low as £1.62 per therm last week, compared with a peak of £6.40 at the height of the energy crisis in August. This is a drop of more than 50 per cent since the beginning of December. HUGE.
In addition, the cost to taxpayers of bailing out collapsed energy supplier Bulb could end up being billions of pounds lower than estimated. The amount of taxpayer funding made available to run Bulb was slashed in December by £1.7 billion, documents filed by its Teneo reveal. It fell from £3.9 billion to £2.2 billion. MASSIVE.
Finally, a big drop in inflation is forecast for 2023, although maybe not quite as low as the Bank of England's marker of 2 per cent, whereas one commentator in the Sunday Times over the weekend stuck out his neck and predicted that interest rates would peak at 4 per cent after eight consecutive monthly rises.