Give Oddbins the credit it deserves for improvements

20 April, 2007

OK, enough already!

I think you have made your editorial position regarding Oddbins abundantly clear. Maybe it's time for you to back off and cease publishing this seemingly unending torrent of whingey letters from Oddbins employees, past and present. By the way, is it editorial policy to make a moan about Oddbins the "star letter" every single week?

Let's look at the facts: Oddbins isn't the same company that it used to be, but Oddbins probably wouldn't still exist if we'd tried to cling to our old image.

This is 2007, and there's been a chill wind blowing through the retail sector for some time now; margins are tighter, premises costs seem to rise exponentially and sharp practices (spurious e-vouchers sent "accidentally" to a huge database, BOGOFs of dubious morality, wilful misreporting on Oddbins business plans etc) are making a tough market ever tougher.

True, we've suffered our time in the doldrums, but things are improving. Change can't happen overnight, and mistakes have been and will be made. But credit where credit's due: we're trying to improve things across the board.

The recent article in the Guardian's G2 supplement seemed to offer a much more considered viewpoint of what we're trying to achieve, and it was a breath of fresh air to actually find Oddbins mentioned in the media without some knee-jerk slagging off at the root of it all. Times have changed; it's no good wistfully looking back on what was. As a company, we're trying to create a wine merchant for the 21st century.

It won't happen overnight, it might not happen at all.

In the meantime, however, we're having a crack at it and the constant negative press is an undeniably soul-destrying thing to face for the large number of good, professional, hard-working managers and staff still with the company. So OLN, Decanter et al don't like us - so what!

We'll still keep plugging away and maybe, just maybe, we'll get it right again (and then won't you lot look daft).

OK, rant over. Just stop looking so hard for negatives and you might find some positives.

Rob Knight


Oddbins, Beckenham

PS Do I get the same sort of prize as an Oddbins employee who doesn't have his name witheld?

lOLN has no "editorial position" on Oddbins or

any other retailer. And if you achieve the success you're aiming for we won't look daft - we'll be delighted for you and the sector we report on. Ed.

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