Osborne admits it is likely to be another 12 to 18 months before there is any improvement in the company’s financial results, giving the impression of an outfit that is running to stand still.
With sales still struggling to recover, this is a turnaround more reliant on cutbacks than before, hence a plea to landlords to “adapt to the new economic reality” by “moving from fixed rent to turnover rent”, plus the threat of further closures if new terms can’t be agreed.
Kelvin has made a return of sorts, under an awkward “relationship agreement” that sees his interests as a 12pc shareholder represented on the board by financial adviser Colin La Fontaine Jackson. Presumably that rules out the option of a group hug, if things get really bad.
Ashley’s high street saviour act is wearing very thin
Mike Ashley will do anything for a bit of attention. If he’s not throwing up in fireplaces in the name of team-building, David Brent-style, the tracksuit and trainer king is offering an “emergency loan” to Philip Green, a cheap publicity stunt designed to rile his great rival as Green’s Arcadia empire crumbled.
Having managed to stay out of the news for several days, Ashley is back, this time with confirmation of his interest in Debenhams, though one wonders what took him so long, given that he’s been kicking the tyres for what feels like an eternity.
The tycoon renewed his interest after it collapsed again in April and it’s only the threat of liquidation that has forced Ashley’s Frasers Group to finally declare its position, though it’s unclear how serious he really is.
Reports of 12,000 jobs being rescued are highly premature given Ashley’s past form. His high street saviour act has worn thin. Underneath the purported heroics is a ruthless operator who has assembled a sprawling retail emporium on the cheap, not by acts of charity.