MT's week in 60 Seconds

The best of this week's news: food failures at M&S, a Sugar-less Amstrad, and a very expensive Buffett.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

The big news this week has been the continuing travails of M&S – after another quarter of falling sales, Sir Stuart Rose took drastic action to arrest the slide on Wednesday by ‘parting ways’ with food boss Steven Esom. Giant housebuilder Taylor Wimpey also had a rotten week; after announcing big write-downs and job losses, it’s been forced to go cap-in-hand to shareholders for £500m – and as Bradford & Bingley will testify, that can be a tricky business. Still, it could be worse; at least they’ve not made a sworn enemy of the pitiless Russian government, as BP appears to have done...

But elsewhere there are plenty of business bucking the gloomy trend. Online fashion retailer ASOS revealed that its gladiator sandals are flying off the virtual shelves, while HMV proved there’s life in old Nipper the dog yet by recording bumper profits on the back of higher videogame sales. Shipbuilders were celebrating after the MoD signed a £3bn cheque to pay for two huge new warships to protect Peter Mandelson, while pitch hirer Goals Soccer confirmed that our passion for 5-a-side football remains undimmed, despite the downturn…

One man whose passion has never been in doubt is Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar, who stepped down from Amstrad this week to focus on his TV wor- sorry, other businesses. Still, he’s got a long way to go before he matches the brand value of zillionaire Warren Buffett – one hedge fund manager has just paid $2.1m for the privilege of having lunch with him. Although we think we’ve identified a shoo-in for his next Apprentice – the Chinese entrepreneur who’s managed to flog 10,000 dead mosquitos

Less admirable were the ‘entrepreneurial’ activities of some in the financial markets: an IT guy at the Body Shop was fined nearly £90,000 after some fairly blatant insider dealing, while staff at credit ratings agency Moody’s were in line for a thick ear after deliberately ignoring problems with one of their rating models. All this in the week that former Refco boss Phillip Bennett was sentenced to 16 years in the slammer. No wonder most Europeans think business cheating is on the rise

Speaking of slams, the least surprising news of the week was Andy Murray’s battering by Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. If you skived off work to watch it, more fool you...

Also in today's bulletin:

TPG walk-out sparks crisis at B&B
Sales flop at John Lewis
You look like you need a holiday
Lessons in getting ahead, from YouTube

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