Friday, 29 July 2011
Baile's verdict on Oddbins – 'calling himself an arse'?
On Friday The Drinks Business carried an exclusive interview (Baile: Back end "killed' Oddbins) with Simon Baile, formerly managing director of x-bins. Baile explains that Oddbins failed not because of the shops but because of the "back end of the business". They had a lot of fixed contracts and couldn't cover the costs.
Baile's interview prompted a classic response from a member of the wine forum on Tom Cannavan's wine pages: 'Simon Baile's calling himself an arse? Sounds remarkably honest.'
Baile's comments rather confirm that Baile and his partners hadn't done their due diligence properly when they took over Oddbins in 2008. If fixed contracts were the problem why did Baile's Oddbins rack up debts well in excess of £20 million, while assuring suppliers that they would be paid? Remembering that £8.4 million of that is owed to the UK Government – ie you and me.
Baile goes on to talk about his newly expanded ExCellar business. 'As would be expected, it hasn’t been straightforward securing suppliers. “Some have been supportive, others less so – they know who they are,” Baile said.'
Fortunately some companies take care over who they supply, otherwise Oddbins' debts might have been even higher. There were a number of companies, such as Bibendum, Patriarche UK and I believe Moët Hennessy, who declined to supply Oddbins well before they went pop. Talking with one of Bibendum's most treasured senior executives it was clear to me that they wouldn't touch Baile's Oddbins with a bargepole. I somehow doubt if they are supplying ExCellars.