The latest Dear IP (No. 131 for those keeping theirs in a neat folder which they can return to in their dotage when rocking on a deck somewhere attached to an iron-lung) is full of surprises. It does first deal with the least surprising news of the week; the Government announcement that it will extend the temporary suspension of the service of statutory demands and the restrictions on winding-up petitions until 30 September, in order to support businesses as they continue to recover from the pandemic.
What issue 131 badly wanted to tell us, but didn't quite get round to it, was that the German manufacturer of Haribo has warned a shortage of lorry drivers is causing difficulties getting its sweets to shops in the UK. Those of you who love your gummy bears, foamy fried eggs and cola bottles may have to buy an apple whilst the job vacancy list of 100,000 or so drivers is reduced, and if you are a Haribo-chewing Brexiteer in particular, you may use the time to reflect upon the fact that this is partially your fault.
Anyway, chickens. The dead one you could be biting into as you read this may have had a longer, equally unfulfilling life as Marks & Spencer is set to become the first major retailer to sell only slower-reared, higher welfare, chicken across its full range of fresh chicken products. We want to focus on the words 'higher welfare' for a moment. Does this mean these longer living birds have access to Netflix, or get a foot rub before they are slaughtered for sandwiches and puri-puri?
Both the RSCPA and Compassion in World Farming hailed the move as a 'landmark' commitment in animal welfare standards and called on other food retailers to follow M&S’s lead. Chicken leaders would have commented further, but the time they took to become leaders coincided with the end of their longer, slightly healthier, multi-grained-diet life and they became chicken and bacon sandwiches before they could be interviewed.
Dear IP 131 did get very excited about a new venture down at Westfield West London. Something called Venture X has been launched there under the guise of a 'co-working environment', in an effort to diversify its 19,000 square feet of partially empty retail space. From the forefront of felxible thinking Westfield launched this space to “attract the best concepts and stores” for customers across a wide range of categories. This is code for "we have an awful lot of wooden boarding blocking out unused retail space and need to think what to do with it".
What will tempt you to Westfield at Shepherds Bush if the Louis Vuitton Onthego MM Tote Bag, a snip at £1,870, isn't enough? Could it be the Venture X podcasting-ready rooms, hybrid meeting rooms enabling digital multicast-screen conferences, in addition to private offices, hotdesking space and shared entertaining spaces with high-speed Wi-Fi? Or maybe you could be lured by wraparound terraces, and private terraces to some private offices within a brand new building?
The post-Covid world really is going to look pretty different and we in the NTI newsroom cannot wait to try a longer living chicken goujon in a multicast-screen room with a foamy fried egg chaser. Yum.Dear