City Spy: Tesco boss Dave Lewis is hoping history won’t repeat itself at industry do

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Tesco boss Dave Lewis is braver than Spy. The usually quiet supermarket boss has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at industry bible Retail Week’s annual shopkeeper shindig.

The last Tesco boss to take the conference’s stage was Phil Clarke, which led to an excruciating interview by host Declan Curry where Clarke had to hold his tongue over the departure of his then-finance chief Laurie McIlwee.

Clarke also admitted he wouldn’t be staying in his job for long, and just a few months later was out of the door…

New Year’s Eve Airbnb cash-in backfires

An Airbnb first-timer was amazed to get more than 70 responses in less than 24 hours when he put his home in Hampstead on offer for a brief let just after Christmas.

Then he realised that letting his home for one night on December 31 might not have been the best idea.

All respondents stressed how trustworthy they were.

When he re-advertised the property for a longer stretch, he got just three replies.

It wasn’t The Sun wot done it for limbo champ 

How intertwined are you with your profession?

One ex-journo turned corporate PR man to some of the City’s biggest names tells Spy an amusing tale over lunch.

On his honeymoon on a sun-drenched isle a few years back, our man and his newlywed decided to take a trip outside the machine gun-patrolled resort to take part in a raucous limbo competition. 

A few back-breaking hours — and a cocktail of rather strong local substances — later our man experiences a “white-out”. 

“The room was disappearing in front of my eyes and I just thought ‘if I die, will I make a nib in The Sun?’.” That’s dedication.

Don’t worry, he’s tucked up in bed by 9pm these days, he assures us.

Oddy struggling with strict rules at House of Fraser 

Word reaches Spy that all is not well at House of Fraser.

Chief executive Nigel Oddy is apparently fed up with having constantly to fly back and forth from China to see the new Far East owners.


What’s brewing behind House of Fraser’s closed doors?

To make matters worse, apparently Oddy must get permission from his Chinese overlords to sign off any spending on overseas operations higher than the paltry sum of £18,000, making it hard to get much done.

Time to sign up to Skype, Nige?

Redwood needs to turn up volume on carol renditions

The Bow Group is holding its Christmas dinner at The Caledonian Club a week tonight. 

Given the Scottish National Party’s unequivocal support for Brussels and ever-closer union, the rather surprising star attractions at this “little bit of Scotland in the heart of London” (Belgravia, to be precise) are that doughty eurosceptic and Conservative MP for Wokingham John Redwood and a rendering of “A Brexit Christmas Carol”.

Still, it is to be hoped that this carol will be spoken rather than sung given Redwood’s previous attempts. 

When the brainiac (he’s a fellow of All Soul’s) was Welsh Secretary he was clearly caught miming his way through the Welsh national anthem.

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December 10, 2015 |
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