Magazine article Management Today

Predators on the High Street

Magazine article Management Today

Predators on the High Street

Article excerpt

They possess a sense of being maverick, feral outsiders who work and play hard.

The original US Rat Pack was a late 1950s group of showbiz pals - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop - who hung out at the Sands hotel and casino in Las Vegas working and playing hard in equal measure. During the day they'd make movies like Ocean's 11 and then perform live at the Sands in the evening. Their collective title was coined by Lauren Bacall, who came across the gang slumped after a boozing session that had gone on around the clock for five days. 'You look like a rat pack,' she told them in her husky tones. Their response has not been recorded.

The UK Retail Rat Pack on our cover this month don't go in for the wild excesses of Francis Albert and his cronies, but they do possess a similar sense of being maverick, feral outsiders who play hard - they sure like to party - and work hard on the British retail scene. And they have a smidgeon of the glamour, too. Few of the established and lamer players on Britain's high streets should feel comfortable with them around. As Chris Blackhurst writes in MT this month, Philip Green and his friends 'treat the shopping mall as a lion does the Serengeti, as a fertile hunting ground for easy meat'. And woe betide the luckless wildebeest that gets separated from the panicking herd.

Say what you like about Arcadia and BHS proprietor Green - and he attracts much media coverage that is less than complimentary - he does appear, like Sinatra, to breathe the business he is in. …

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