CHAPTER 33

Ratner/Signet Group plc: 1984–97

‘People ask me, how can you sell this product for such a low price? I say it is because it is total crap. We even sell a pair of earrings for under £1, which is cheaper than a prawn sandwich from Marks & Spencer, but I have to say the earrings probably won't last as long.’ This statement was made by Gerald Ratner, the managing director of the world's largest retail jewellery chain, in April 1991. It was not the first time he had made these and similar jokes, and they had been reported regularly in the financial press, which was not the normal reading of his mass-market customers. On this occasion he thought the meeting at the Institute of Directors was private, but his remarks were heard by a reporter ...

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