Making sense of the past seven days
The failure of yesterday's appeal against its price fixing conviction was a disappointing end to what had been a pretty good week for JJB Sports.

Observers of the company have, over the past three years, become used to an unremitting stream of bad news, as Mike Ashley ramped up the competition from his bargain-basement Sports World operation.

However, the signs were there in this week's interim results that JJB has adjusted to life with Sports World. Like-for-like sales were up nearly 10 per cent in the six months to the end of July and have continued strongly since then.

This doesn't mean life that has got easy overnight, though. Price competition remains intense and this has held back profitability. Given the strong competition between JJB founder Dave Whelan and Ashley, there is little chance of let-up.

But, by working closely with the leading brands to get hold of exclusive ranges and creating a retail environment that is distinct from the jumble-sale approach of Ashley, JJB has shown there is still room for a strong mid-market sportswear multiple. If the recovery can be sustained, the company may yet confound its critics.

The paparazzi were out last night for the launch of Bhs's celebrity-endorsed homewares ranges. Bhs has been desperately in need of some good news and Sir Philip Green thinks that getting celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and interior designer Kelly Hoppen on board will reinvigorate the struggling chain.

Bold moves are exactly what is needed if Bhs is to fight back against the resurgence of Marks & Spencer. Hoppen and Ramsay may get some new customers into the stores, but whether their names will mean anything to Bhs's core, older shoppers is another matter.