Anyone who has read two or three of these columns knows how quick I am at maths (ie Snails R Us). Still, even knowing this, David Cornthwaite emailed me with a real puzzler.
"Sorry Jac, for the maths," he writes, "but what sort of ratio do most convenience stores run for a wage percentage against net sales?"
Ratios? Whew. Is that like calculus or what?
"Are you new to retailing?" I asked.
No, he's been in retailing for 28 years and his group bosses (Costcutter Supermarkets Ltd) have asked him to find out what other retailers are averaging on wage cost percentage. "I have spoken to some colleagues in the multiples," he adds, "but I am interested in the c-store sector."
Obviously, I need help on this one. Just to underline it, I remember bragging as a 10-year-old that we were learning decimals in school. My six-year old brother, never to be outdone, said: "That's nothing. We're doing plusimals." I didn't know any better and went to bed wondering why I couldn't remember plusimals.
So, let's get proper debate going on this ratio-thingy. Please email
or fax your equations or, if you ring,
be prepared for 'can you repeat that bit'. I feel a masterclass coming on.