Tuesday, 18 August 1998

Alexander Fullerton: Store (1971)

Edition: Cassell, 1972
Review number: 105

Store is a novel about managing a large London department store. It is not perhaps the kind of book I would normally read, not being particularly interested in the trials and tribulations of retail, but I enjoyed Fullerton's novel, which is somewhat old fashioned in a J.B. Priestley mould.

Manifold's London store is in trouble; profits are down and there is an imminent prospect of a hostile takeover. Sir Walter Manifold, still running the business he built up before the war, brings in John Conant from the Australian branches with the authority to do whatever is needed. After some investigation, he begins to realise that what is really necessary is for Sir Walter, now in his seventies and not what he was in his prime, to make way as general manager for someone younger. This is just about the only recommendation he cannot make directly, and this is where the internal politics become interesting. The machinations of Arnold Leverage, who runs a chain of rather more downmarket stores and is the main contender o take over Manifold's, muddy the waters further, and Conant's old love affairs, one with Sir Walter's daughter and one with the wife of another director, cause more complications.

Interest is sustained to the end, and the fate of the store hangs in the balance until the last few pages.

No comments: