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Don Pumsey: our man from drip: at the department of retail infrastructure and pricing.

The Deathstar is nothing if not consistent. I have a long-held suspicion that any employee aspiring to rise above the rank of Blackhole Stormtrooper is obliged to undergo a total charisma bypass on the remote planet of Wellin, and the new FD does little to challenge this notion. Almost incredibly, the dour Laurie Mcllwee makes Tesco logistics director David Potts look positively ebullient, and it was not for nothing that "Laurie the Lorry" acquired a reputation for busting disquiet among the chronic malcontents of the Tesco distribution fleet by boring the ringleaders to death.

Looks like the cheery Andy Higginson got out in the nick of time. You can imagine the scene as he handed over his grubby, dog-eared account books in the inner sanctum of the Leahybunker. "It's all yours now Laurie," Higgy intones in his faux-jovial Lancastrian-lite idiolect. "Don't worry if the numbers don't add up. Worm-hole in the space-time continuum, I expect. Ta-ta for now."

Either way, Mcllwee will now have to apply his charm vacuum to persuading Tesco's increasingly woebegone shareholders that the feeble UK like-for-likes are not the result of the shell-suited millions deserting his stores for the allegedly cheaper Krautmorts. You suspect that Tesco's Discounter range is only serving to befuddle the dwindling customer base (not difficult, admittedly). A ghastly thought strikes me--is Darth Leahy losing his touch? The notion opens a dizzying vortex of confidence deeper than Darling Alistair's junior savers overdraft.

Back at Republic HQ, Bondandybond will be reviewing the results of his guest editing foray at this fearless title and well done Asda for doing so brilliantly in last week's Grocer 33. You'd have thought the Bentonville bruisers would have paid him enough that he didn't have to moonlight, but there you go. It's an interesting precedent. What next, Markup de Price as fitness coach? Marc Bolan teaches elocution? Watch this space.
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Author:Pumsey, Don
Date:Feb 7, 2009
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