News, Views And Opinions This Sunday

Posted on Oct 25, 2020. by NTI

If you feel under the cosh today (Sunday 25 October) take comfort from the fact that on this day in 1415 Henry V sent his army once more unto the breach at Agincourt and defeated the much more numerous French armoured troops with longbows. Just 439 years later, on 25 October,  the Charge of the Light Brigade took place during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War ... and it is exactly a year since Tracee started her 48 hour ‘electric vegetable diet’, which has resulted in her losing nothing but her credibility.

If you are a member of the prestigious and super-select Conduit Club in London’s Mayfair you will remember this as the date some under-dressed oiks from Quantuma entered the hallowed lounges with views over London and shut the place down.  The club was set up two years ago with a vision to promote positive social and environmental change, but mainly to look down on non-members from the sixth floor of the building.

Robert Devereux, the club’s chair, who was clearly not born to shout, “Have we got any more frozen chicken out the back, Gary?” has expressed his shock and disappointment at the parquet floors hearing the clatter of vulgarian shoes, but handed over the keys to the Administrators on Friday after talks to purchase the debt owed to Metro Bank, a secured creditor, ended without agreement. October is the peak month for subscription renewals at the Conduit, which has collected hundreds of thousands of pounds from members over the past few weeks. Nice little earner, Quantuma.

The Westbury Hotel, the club’s landlord, had served a winding-up petition in April but has been legally barred from following it up, so Quantuma will take it from here.

There was a horrifying headline in The Times this morning; ‘Mike Ashley to pounce on struggling Jaeger’. Philip Day’s upmarket brand is in the sights of the very well-uplholstered serial retailer who can sniff out a bargain like a pig to truffles. Poor Jaeger, with their well-cut flannel coats, cashmere wraps and houndstooth jackets will have to extricate themselves from under the flabby Ashley, who has also shown interest in Austin Reed and Jacques Vert, but not Peacocks, it appears. One Peacock in a business is definitely enough.

In any event Peacocks is one of Philip Day’s favourite toys and on Friday he was granted a two-week extension in which to piece together a deal to reacquire the store chain through a pre-pack with US hedge fund Davidson Kempner. 

The word ‘pandemic’ has become one of the five most Googled in 2020 and tenants are planning to make it a permanent feature in leases as retailers taking on new deals are insisting on ‘pandemic clauses’ that stipulate rent payments will be reduced should the shop be forced to close in a local lockdown. Amazon, which is seeking sites for a new chain of convenience stores and bookshops, along with Sports Direct, footwear chain Schuh and VF Corporation, which owns the Timberland and North Face brands, are said to be seeking to insert the clause into new leases. Why do Amazon want shops? Hasn’t their prodigious success been predicated upon no stores and the instant gratuity of web-seekers who want Prime delivery within hours of buying, without having to go the trouble of putting on either pants or shoes? 

Such clauses could be inserted into leases at the Trafford Centre in Manchester by one of the ten bidders who have expressed an interest in buying the shopping centre, last valued at £1.7 billion. There are those, like Amazon presumably, who clearly believe in the future of musac-accompanied shopping experiences and are willing to put investor money where their mouths are.

Maybe Louis Vuitton are looking at opening a store in the Trafford Centre in an attempt to satisfy the otherwise insatiable appetite for £2,000 brown plastic handbags by the WAGs and hopeful WAGs of the Tier-3 stricken north-west, and France’s LVMH celebrated that possibility by returning its biggest business to double-digit sales growth in the third quarter, as strong demand for Louis Vuitton and Dior helped offset steep declines elsewhere caused by the Coro ... blah, blah, blah.

The world’s biggest luxury goods maker delivered 12 per cent comparable revenue growth at its fashion and leather goods unit to reach £5.2 billion, far better than the 1 per cent decline expected by analysts. So there is hope in the world and a vaccine in the offing and, due to the peculiarities of human beings, we all think we have ‘gained an hour’ this morning, despite the fact that time travels on inexorably and Neil’s dogs will still feel hungry at the same time.

Happy Sunday.


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