The Government has responded to the parliamentary select commitee inquiries into BHS and the message to retailers, and other businesses, is that they are going to be under scrutiny.
While careful not to pre-judge the various investigations under way by organisations such as the Serious Fraud Office, Margot James, minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility, signalled there could be action on corporate governance, executive pay and pension responsibilities generally.
What is striking is the tone in parts of James’s letter. There must be an economy that “works fairly for everyone, not just the privileged few”, she writes.
Similarly, the Pensions Regulator must have adequate powers to “deter and tackle misbehaviour” and if more legislation is needed it will be brought forward.
The unique ethos that led to the success of John Lewis, the forward thinking that prompted the Sainsbury’s and Argos tie-up and the vast number of jobs created by giants such as Tesco are more representative of retail.
The industry must tell its good news stories better to win the ear of government and burnish its public image.
Quote of the day
“We are trying to defend our customers from unjustified price increases, but that it is likely there will be some price increases going forward, I think is very likely.”
John Allan, chairman of Tesco.
Today in numbers
9% - the fall in revenue posted by Apple in the three months to September 24, marking the first time its year-on-year sales have declined in more than 10 years.
£1.4bn - the amount that will be spent revamping Brent Cross Shopping Centre under plans drawn up by Hammerson and Standard Life Investments.
Debenhams will be the focus in the City tomorrow when the department store group posts full-year results.
George MacDonald, executive editor