John Lewis and Morrisons are very different companies. One of these is a partnership between department stores and a chic catering business, Waitrose, rooted in the south, and the other a public grocery store, without shame of Northern origin.
The John Lewis Partnership produced shocking results in the first half, bringing £ 1.6 million of gross revenue to £ 5.5 billion.
The favorite shop of the agonizing classes accused everyone except themselves for a sub-octane performance.
Especially the criticism of business rates and uncertainty as a result of Brexit negotiations led to an attack by Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.
Slump: The John Lewis Partnership produced shocking results in the first half, bringing the profit of just £ 1.6 million to the gross revenue of £ 5.5 billion
Both are legitimate claims, with John Lewis paying £ 10.2 million business rates only in his Oxford Street store.
The reality is that Morrisons has exactly the same environment as John Lewis, including competition from online disrupters and retailers without frills.
It is undeniably less vulnerable to business rates because it is not traded on Oxford Street.
Nevertheless, the results were ruthlessly optimistic in the first half. The group revealed a profit increase of 9 percent in the first half of the profit to £ 193 million and produced the best quarterly results in nine years.
Chief executive David Potts wrote a record-breaking summer hit, the World Cup and Royal Wedding for an exceptional performance.
The largest part of the increase was due to smart management, with a focus on fresh grocery stores, private labels and private labels. Morrisons has also been rewarded for embracing online by making arrangements about distribution with Ocado and Amazon.
Even though it is the same consumer mood as John Lewis and rising business rates in 500 stores, it saves us the sob story.
Despite the Brexit and the endless negative comments from the TUC, Labor and some filthy bosses, the economy is remarkably resilient.
Tax receipts were high and unemployment data was remarkable, with unemployment falling to 4 percent. The vacancies are at a high level and the average profit rises.
The Bank of England has adjusted its economic outlook. Growth was stronger in the second quarter than expected at 0.4 percent and bank economists have increased the growth for the current quarter from 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent.
The Monetary Policy Committee, which determines monetary policy, observes that services and building production have grown strongly in the quarter to July.
Since services account for as much as 80 percent of the output, this can not be bad and does not suggest the negative Brexit effect quoted by John Lewis.
Like M & S, it has a special place in the national psyche. But it has to look at its own organization, service and ambition instead of external excuses.
The word & # 39; partners & # 39; anywhere in the fascia can be a gee-whizz marketing device designed by managing director Paula Nickolds, but fundamental changes in store footprint and service seem urgent.
If Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield and Nickolds can not deliver a better return, the change must be fully worked on.
Debt time bomb
Not everyone is confident that the financial system will be safer after the crisis. In the past 24 hours, perpetrators have been heard by Sir John Vickers, former chairman of the Independent Commission on Banking, who thinks that banks are paying too much dividends, and Gordon Brown with his & # 39; sleepwalking & # 39; in a crisis report.
Now the managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde joins the naysayers.
She warns that the levels of government debt in emerging markets have reached the level most recently seen in the debt crisis of the 1980s, and low-income countries, especially in Africa, are faced with unsustainable burdens.
Lagarde warns that governments are vulnerable to higher interest charges. The debt level of low-income countries has risen from 33 percent of national production in 2013 to 47 percent now.
This is disastrous for poor countries with a limited ability to levy taxes and reduce debts.
There is turmoil among emerging markets, including Argentina, Turkey and South Africa. Venezuela's problems are from the map. Very scary.
A Monet on the management floor once considered as proof of success, an investment and a source of peace.
Not for the newly incarcerated chairman of a famous but troubled shopkeeper who ordered it to be demolished and loaned to a large gallery.
Who would we be talking about?