City Diary: Sainsbury’s drunken Dolly Parton session takes staff out of the 9 to 5

City Diary: Sainsbury’s drunken Dolly Parton session takes staff out of the 9 to 5

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At least one executive at the Co-op Group has happy memories of the mutual laid low by the “crystal Methodist”. When new chairman Ursula Lidbetter was a small child, she and her mother used to trot along to their nearest Co-op branch in Lincolnshire, clutching a book of Co-op stamps.

“I remember thinking how brilliant it was,” Lidbetter said in 2011. “I thought, you go to this shop and buy things – and you get money back.”

Lidbetter will, alas, find that ship has sailed as she starts the “important work” of turning around the Co-op’s battered businesses. So she will have to fall back on her other “passion” – the poetry of Lincolnshire-born bard Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Perhaps “O Sorrow, Cruel Fellowship” might strike the right note in these “very difficult times” for mutual banking.

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Can Cafod keep the faith?

Say a few Hail Marys for Cafod, the Catholic Church’s overseas alms-giving arm.

Today’s revelation that Cafod is reviewing its banking partnership with the Co-op is the Christian charity’s third ethical dilemma in as many months.

Firstly, Cafod chief Chris Bain made headlines for his 9pc payrise to £87,000 a year. Then there was the dark night of the soul over whether Cafod should accept royalties from sales of the explosive new book by its chief spokesman, Damian McBride, which lifts the lid on Gordon Brown’s government.

As Brown’s one-time spin doctor said of Cafod’s decision not to profit from his poison pen: “Cafod sees itself as … the sum of its supporters, its core purpose the living expression of their faith.”

Amen to that.

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Share-tipper Tom Winnifrith is feeling “ridiculous” as he struggles to grow his first-ever facial hair for Movember, the men’s charity.

But at least his latest stock-picking venture, Hot Stock Rockets, has achieved lift-off with 250 subscribers six days since launch.

Possibly because the challenger to t1ps.com, which Winnifrith used to run, is “targeting” a 25pc return from the Aim companies in its portfolio within three months.

“We do not regard t1ps.com as a rival,” says a mystery source close to Hot Stock Rockets. “We will overtake them in terms of revenue-paying customers by Easter.”

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Calling last orders

The news that Ted Tuppen has called time on his 20 years running Enterprise Inns also brings to an end another union.

Tuppen will no longer have business dealings with his wife, Hilary, a former banker who sits on the board of Enterprise Inns’ financial PR agency, Tulchan.

Of course, Mrs Tuppen, who looks after Tulchan’s “client review process”, will continue to lobby just as strongly for the brewer’s business even though her spouse is no longer propping up the bar.

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harriet.dennys@telegraph.co.uk

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