retail news in context, analysis with attitude


ARTICLE TEXT



by Kevin Coupe

Mike Coupe’s musical moment seems to have gone flat.

Coupe - the CEO of Sainsbury (who is not related, as far as we know, to the Content Guy) - was getting ready to be interviewed on ITV in the UK this week about his company’s proposed acquisition of almost 60 percent of Walmart-owned Asda Group for about $4.1 billion.

He was cool. But the microphone was hot. And so, when he began to sing to himself waiting for the interview to start, it was caught on tape (which you can see at right).

"We're in the money. The sky is sunny. Let's lend it, spend it, send it rolling along," he sang.

CNN writes that the “incident angered unions that represent grocery industry workers.

Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union, tells CNN, “It's not only crass, it's completely unprofessional and utterly insensitive. What on earth will Asda workers who are worrying about their futures think when they see this?”

Coupe released a follow-up statement: “This was an unguarded moment trying to compose myself before a TV interview. It was an unfortunate choice of song, from the musical 42nd Street which I saw last year.”

A few thoughts here, if I may.

To me, this is sort of nice moment, and not as crass as some would suggest. Sure, Coupe made about $600,000 just from the increase in the Sainsbury stock price after the Asda deal was announced. But a lot of these CEO types are so cool and so rich that an extra $600,000 doesn’t mean very much … I sort of like the ideas that he was human enough to enjoy the moment. (Trust me, if I ever make $600,000 in a day, I’m going to warble a tune or two myself. In fact, I’d break into song for a lot less than that.)

When the union guy asks what Asda employees should think, I’d suggest that they should consider the possibility that this deal, and Coupe’s leadership, might allow Asda to be more competitive in the face of growing threats from Amazon, Lidl and Aldi, and maybe even start to grow market share instead of watching it shrink.

People have to relax.

This could have been a lot worse. Coupe could’ve been doing a verse or two from “Money, Cash, Hoes .”

Now that would’ve been crass.
KC's View: