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Stop press: Sir Alan Sugar’s bought into Woolies

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Despite being worth an estimated £830m, Sugar has joined the ranks of the "bottom-feeders", scooping up shares in the homewares retailer as its share price hit an all-time low.

Here are the facts. Woolworths’ share price fell 80 per cent over the past year. It has no property portfolio to speak of (Geoff Mulchacy bagged that when Woolworths was demerged from Kingfisher) and shares in the budget chain closed at 3.14p yesterday. Sugar’s bought 57 million shares to make up his 3.88 per cent stake.

What’s Suralan playing at?

Woolworths reported pre-tax losses of almost £100m in the first half of 2008. It’s in serious trouble. Former CEO Trevor Bish Jones was cut loose earlier in the year to be replaced by the lean, mean Steve Johnson. Johnson plans to ditch 120 stores, cut staff and drop 25 per cent of products.

What does Sir Alan know that we don’t? Perhaps he’s hoping that the John Lewis set, hit by the credit crunch, will downgrade over Christmas and buy all their friends £2 own-brand vases.

RB is incredulous.

The only positive news on the grapevine is that Woolies has struck a £9m deal with Tesco, offloading a number of its long-term leases. That might suck up some of the chain’s £295m debt…

If you were our investment banker, Sir Alan, we’d have two words for you:

"You’re fired!"

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