Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Talk Talk

(By Richard Holway) It must be my zany sense of humour or too many years watching The Day Today or listening to the new BBC Radio4 series Listen Against, but I still have to giggle when I see headlines like Charles Dunstone to divide in two. I lost count of the number of articles in today’s papers about Carphone Warehouse. I thought they were talking about me when I read “he told analysts that he hadn’t been gloomy enough in his briefing six months ago” – when Dunstone (like me) was accused of being too gloomy about the outlook for the sector.

Dunstone has even more to be gloomy about than me. The Times reports that his paper fortune has “fallen by about £750m in the last year”. Contrary to wild rumours, this is rather more than me!

Charles Dunstone is a keen supporter of the Prince’s Trust (like me). I applaud his frank and honest view of the outlook. Like “the run up to Christmas will be difficult. But post Christmas will be an absolute nightmare.” I also support his decision to bring his call centres back to the UK – thus creating c300 extra jobs. I also applaud his decision to increase the base salaries and decrease the commission elements of his store salesmen’s remuneration. That is really counter-intuitive. But the best way to avoid customers just buying on price is to compete on customer service.

The cash deal with Best Buy means that Carphone is debt free. With an honest and realistic approach to what the future might bring, maybe Dunstone will cheer up soon.

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