John Lewis in court after putting workers lives in danger

By Christine Lavelle

HIGH street retailer John Lewis faces a massive fine after it was revealed they failed to do proper safety checks while refurbishing premises in Edinburgh which led to 15 construction workers potentially being exposed to asbestos.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard today (Mon) that some of the men were told to carry on touching danger areas with their own hands even after the alarm had been raised because no proper tests were done.

If asbestos is disturbed it can release harmful fibres into the air, which may lead to diseases such as cancer, lung scarring and serious respiratory problems.

The effects of the illness may not become apparent until up to 40 years later.

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Sainsbury’s don’t want their vans in Edinburgh’s jams

OFFROAD: The supermarket blamed Edinburgh's traffic chaos for the decision

By Michael MacLeod

SAINSBURY’S have put the brakes on their home deliveries in Edinburgh – because they don’t want to get stuck in traffic jams during the city’s Festival.

The supermarket giants claim summer-long road closures and diversions will spoil their “high standards” and result in a bad service, although rivals Asda and Tesco will drive on as normal.

The decision has left city some residents baffled, who claimed the areas Sainsbury’s are refusing to deliver to are not affected by the Festival or any annual knock-on congestion.

One Tory councillor even called on locals to ditch Sainsbury’s and shop elsewhere.
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Council cracking down on “tartan tat”

By Cara Sulieman

COUNCIL chiefs in Edinburgh want to crack down on “tartan tat” shops marring the main tourist street to improve the image of Scotland’s capital.

City of Edinburgh Council revealed plans to clean up the Royal Mile – where it owns most of the shops – by dictating the type of products that can be sold.

It follows concern from local business groups about the growing number of souvenir shops on the iconic road.

Council bosses said that they want to be more proactive in managing the appearance of shops and influencing what they sell.

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It’s a Tweeting Christmas for Scots shoppers

By Oliver Farrimond

Scots retailers are enjoying a boost in sales thanks to this becoming the first ever Twitter-Christmas – with brands and bargains being pushed onto shoppers via the social networking success.

Scores of high-street brands familiar to Scots shoppers have embraced the social networking site, using it to do everything from promoting offers, to simply extending wishes of holiday cheer.

And with retail experts predicting a healthier climate for Christmas sales this year, the rise of Twitter could prove lucrative.

Richard Dodd, spokesperson for the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “It’s a tremendously competitive Christmas this year and there is a sense that customers are more willing to spend this year than in previous years.

“There is a real retail battle to have what spending there is.

“A big part of that is talking to customers and telling them about the deals and offers, and every retailer is keen to make sure that they use them instead of their rivals. Continue reading

Shopkeeper fined for selling out of date food

By Cara Sulieman

A SHOPKEEPER has been fined £300 after selling out of date food.

Nadeem Ishaq, owner of Fresh Choice, pled guilty to illegally selling food past its ‘use by’ date at Edinburgh Justice of the Peace Court in December.

Officers from the council’s Environmental Health unit visited the shop in July last year for a routine food standards investigation.

They found a total of nine products in the fridge that were out of date and started legal proceedings against the shopkeeper.

Of the fruit, juices, pasties and other pastry snacks still on show, four were four days past their sell by date and another five were three days past it.

A typical corner shop, Fresh Choice on South Clerk Street in Edinburgh sells both dry and chilled food as well as a small section of household goods.

But the health inspectors found they didn’t have controls in place to make sure no food was sold out of date, leading to a risk to “human health.”

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader, is pleased with the work his employees have done and hopes the message will get across to other shopkeepers.

He said: “Food past its ‘use by’ date is not fit for consumption. Anyone caught selling food past its ‘use by’ date could be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

“I applaud the work of our officers, which helps ensure that food bought in Edinburgh’s shops or restaurants is healthy and safe.

“This case should send a message to all food retailers that they would be breaking the law to sell goods which have passed their ‘use by’ dates.”

Although sometimes ignored by consumers, use by dates are an important indication of when a food is safe to eat.

Once expired, there is a higher chance that microbiological growth will happen on the food, leading to numerous health problems.

On the 10 December 2008 Mr Nadeem Ishaq pled guilty and was fined £300 for offences under the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 and the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

£15,000 to get on Comet’s shelves

comet

By Michael MacLeod

ELECTRICAL giants Comet are planning on charging for shelf-space in a bit to halt crashing profits.

The move could force big-name suppliers like Apple to PAY to get their iPods sold in the shops.

Insiders say it could cost firms up to £15,400 to put anything from a toaster to plasma TV on Comet’s shelves.

While Comet couldn’t reveal details, they admitted they were in talks with manufacturers in light of “challenging times.”

The news comes just weeks after the chain reported an £8m loss for the six months ending October – markedly down on the whopping £10m profit seen in the same spell only a year before.

A source close to the company said many smaller firms were angry at the plans and refused to sign up to the terms.

Comet director Bob Darke is reported to have written to suppliers, telling them the new charges will be imposed from January 1 next year.

In the letter, he is said to have blamed the tough retail market for the new charge, which could see them asking for a “listing fee” for every line stocked in stores.

But one supplier fumed: “The size and scale of what Comet is demanding is unusual and outrageous.

“How are the small guys supposed to have a chance against the big boys if we’re spending the equivalent of a worker’s annual wage just to get into the shop?

“It’s big money and in this day and age it’s hard to free up that kind of cash.”

A spokesperson for Comet wouldn’t deny the claims.

They stated: “In these challenging times our customers are looking for good value and it is our role to negotiate the best possible deals on their behalf.

“We can confirm that we are in negotiations with our suppliers.

“These discussions are commercially sensitive and we will not comment on any of the details.”