Friday, October 12, 2007

The Worst Managed Business on the UK High Street?


The worst managed firm on the UK High Street may be WH Smith?

I enter WH Smith, which sells newspapers and books. I pick up a book. There are 4 check-out desks. Only two are manned.

The queue, made up mainly of people buying tabloid newspapers, seems to be as long as a football pitch.

I put the book back on its shelf. Other customers, not prepared to queue for ten minutes, are also walking out.

The top bosses of WH Smith may be about to give themselves a £20m payout.

Chief executive Kate Swann may get nearly £4 million.

WH Smith bosses on track for jackpot

On the 11 October 2007 Kate Swann announced that overall group sales were down.

On the same day, WH Smith shares were the worst performer in the FTSE-250 index, closing down 27.75p at 392.25p.

Ms Swann forecasts a difficult Christmas.

Ms Swann has made cost cuts: closing the company's final salary pension scheme and introducing a holiday pay scheme for staff which enabled the company to avoid paying national insurance contributions.

Ann Field, national officer of trade-union Unite, said: "With every cut WH Smith makes to its employees' terms and conditions, the pay and bonuses of the chief executive and senior managers seem to grow."

Another problem with WH Smith is the low quality of some of the books and magazines on offer.

When I present a list of books I would like to buy, I am told that none are being sold by WH Smiths.

So, I have to use the internet. Or, I go to my excellent local second-hand book shop.

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