Deathwatch - jobs fears for Grattan and Freeman
Deathwatch has been quiet recently. So quiet in fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking the economy had spun 540 degrees and was heading back towards the well-trodden territory of capitalist pigs and houses worth more than their weight in diamond-encrusted gold.
Not to worry, because word reaches us that the Otto Group, owners of catalogue shops Grattan and Freemans are "restructuring" the business, and that their plans will be "wide-ranging and significant". What the blithering hell does that mean, then? According to the shopworkers union Usdaw, it means that up to 3,800 jobs are at risk.
While it's fair to say that unions are hardly famous for their cheekily optimistic outlook on life, plenty of businesses involved in retail are hitting the wall, so to see a mail order company take a tumble wouldn't be a surprise. The Otto Group is the planet's largest mail order company, employing over 52,000 people worldwide; one of their previous catalogue companies, the US retailer Spiegal went bankrupt in 2003.