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The Briefcase: 'Handbag drinkers', Tesco troubles and Apple gets its flex on

This was the week in business.

We know how you feel.
We know how you feel.
Image: Tie in grinder via Shutterstock

IT’S NEVER FUN making a mistake.

But like that time you “accidentally” grabbed someone-else’s lunch out of the office fridge instead of your own, half-stale cheese sandwich, the best thing to do is come clean and admit you got it wrong.

No matter how sheepish you feel about it.

Well multiply that sensation by about 300 million and that about sums up the vibe for the world’s second biggest retailer over the past five days.

Here’s everything happening in business this week that hasn’t already passed its used-by date:

Need to know

Every little screw up

As weeks go, it was not a great one for Tesco.

Ireland and the UK’s biggest supermarket chain started with a bad case of Monday-itis, admitting it had overstated its expected profits for the year – by a cool €300 million.

Banksy Source: SNappa2006

Never mind that the downgrade was the third profit warning this year from the supermarket megalith, the real question on everyone’s lips was how such a colossal accounting bungle could happen.

Someone forgot to carry the one? Staff using the Mayan calendar by mistake?

We don’t know yet, because Tesco hasn’t told us.

MayanCalendar.png A Mayan calendar. Unconfirmed sightings in Tesco's accounting department. Source: Wikimedia

The company announced it had suspended four executives and launched an independent investigation, but things went from bad to worse when it became apparent that it had effectively been running without a financial chief for six months – the main period now called into question.

UK officials have since flagged dragging Tesco heads before parliament to account for the “stratospheric” error.

Meanwhile, investors abandoned the company in tidal waves. Tesco’s share price plunged over 16% during the week – and today sat at roughly half its one-year peak from last October.

Tesco Not a good month for Tesco investors. Source: Tesco

If that didn’t endear the company to locals enough, Tesco also admitted on Wednesday that it was in talks over cutting “a small number of roles” in its Irish workforce.

It said some stores’ department managers could be “redeployed” or offered voluntary redundancy under a shake-up of its operations.

Nice to know

Source: Unbox Therapy/YouTube

  • House prices were up again, no big surprises there. In Dublin the hike was a massive 24.7%, but the government celebrated the news – hoping it would also mean a boost in construction work. Meanwhile, planning permission for apartments plunged, down 73% in just one year
  • The Bord Gáis theatre was sold for €28 million to a couple who made a motza selling hotels just before the crash. This time they picked up the former Grand Canal Theatre for the bargain price, nearly a third of the €80 million it cost to develop

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Now you know

  • A new tenner was put into circulation. A more secure, longer-lasting tenner to be exact. But the ECB’s latest €10 note is only easily told apart from the older version by its slightly different texture
  • Eircom launched its movie-on-demand download service to lukewarm response, mainly because the announcement comes up to five years after rival offerings came on the market. As one reader put it: “And in other news, Eircom are giving all new customers who sign up for their typewriter package a free quill and ink jar.”

shutterstock_126483725 Inside Eircom's R&D department? Source: Old typewriter via Shutterstock

 

One for the road

Is there anything a cute puppy won’t fix? Drink driving, I hear you say? Well…

Those soft-hearted chaps at Budweiser beg to differ, launching this high-on-the-adorable factor commercial begging drinkers to get home safely because “your friends are counting on you”.

Source: budweiser/YouTube

Awwww, the little fella’s making me thirsty.

READ: Double Irish with a twist of Keynsian economics and… new iPhones OMG OMG!

READ: The €1 trillion question, queues for houses, and the charm of Michael Noonan

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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