(i've posted this on iii) "I used to provide consultancy services to LAD so I knew a fair bit about the co. But not any more so this is only a surmise but I'm wondering whether there are plans afoot to reduce the number of retail branches from approximately 2000 to 950?On 25 November Bglobal (BGBL) announced "that its subsidiary, Bglobal Metering Limited, has signed an agreement with Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd ("Ladbrokes") to install smart meters in 950 of its retail outlets across the United Kingdom."Why only 950? All the branches consume electricity, so why not do them all?"To the one person that has commented so far: "You must be kidding.1. You can't reach a monumental conclusion like halving the estate from smart meter installation!2. Doesn't it make sense to install them in half the estate, to compare the benefits with the other half anyway.3. Who on earth would take 950 stores in the UK off Ladbrokes?! They have ongoing rent obligations and can't just close stores on that kind of scale."I have replied: 1. Yes I can.2. No. Either LAD has confidence in smart meter benefits or it does not: it makes no sense to pitch one off against another. LAD's stores all burn electricity and the bulk of consumption is the same regardless of the size oif the store: the main difference is only in lighting and perhaps a few screens. Otherwise, the operational machinery is effectively identical. 3. The majority of LAD's stores in the UK are in historic trading positions, where they wouldn't open if offered the premises today. I didn't say mass-closure, I said downsizing. Whenever LAD's leases come up for renewal, they take 10 years with a 5 year break. Closing stores gradually would not cost any more than the amount to which LAD is already committed."I'm going to back my hunch in my forthcoming newsletter for my clients and contacts. I might even ask LAD's property chief if I'm on the right lines.
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