Daily Archives: September 10, 2008

John Gapper

My column in the FT this week is on Hank Paulson, the bail-out of Fannie and Freddie, and the dangers of endless intervention. It starts like this:

I do not know what plans Hank Paulson, the US Treasury secretary, has for the weekend. Bird-watching, perhaps. Whatever they are, may I suggest that he sticks to them? Read more

John Gapper

US supermarket chains are following their German and British counterparts in discovering the joys of small stores in cities. Both the New York Times and the FT have stories today about Wal-Mart and others following the example of Tesco’s neighbourhood stores.

There are good reasons why the neighbourhood grocery chain, which has been pioneered by Aldi’s US chain Trader Joe’s as well as Tesco’s Fresh & Easy chain in California, could pay off for US supermarkets.

As the Times article points out, there is an awful lot of pointless variety in the typical US supermarket, driven by the tendency of branded food companies to make 57 varieties of everything. Read more