In this week's Monday Interview, Kristy Dorsey writes: As a founding director in charge of the Caledonian Travel coach holiday business, Graham Rogers never imagined a situation that could topple “very profitable” businesses into collapse in a span of just a few short months.

That, of course, was before the Covid-19 pandemic that swept aside pretty much all that lay before it. After more than 30 years of trading in Scotland, it appeared Caledonian was at the end of the road. Operating as part of a division that also included National Holidays and UKBreakaways, Caledonian Travel and its sister companies were part of Wigan-based Specialist Leisure Group (SLG), whose other assets included the Shearings coach holiday brand and a string of hotels across Scotland and other parts of the UK.

In Mark Williamson’s SME Focus this week, Nikki Welch of Edinburgh-based Quenchable tells to whom it sells. She says: “The Quenchable app is for hotels, restaurants and wine bars, particularly those with a number of sites or venues where it’s harder for the wine specialist to be on hand with the staff. We work on a ‘pay as you learn’ basis where the whole team has access to the app but the business only pays for the staff who have used it that month. When somebody leaves the business their licence can be transferred on to the new worker.”

In Jeremy Peat’s Business Voices column on Monday, he says that the “failure to think through way forward is disturbing”.

Don't miss The Herald business section on Monday for the full articles.

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Tesco shareholders will eagerly be hoping for a pay day next week as the company gives them the best behind-the-scenes look at how it coped with Covid-19.

The supermarket's half-year results will be presented by new boss Ken Murphy, who will only have led the company through six days of the last six months after taking over on Thursday.

Investors will be hoping he might want to impress with a nice payout, slicing up some of the cake from recent big windfalls, such as the sale of Tesco's Asia business, analysts said.

"Look out for comments on the planned special £5 billion cash distribution once the Thai and Malaysian disposal goes through, that equates to around 51p per share," AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said.

Investors will be eagerly eyeing up the dividend that bosses decide to pay out too.
Mr Mould explained that lockdown had increased supermarket sales, as people were unable to go to restaurants and pubs, however, Tesco still lost some ground to its competitors.

"Tesco has lost market share over the past year, albeit only one 10th of a percentage point, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel, in what remains a fiercely competitive market," he said.

Three months ago shareholders got a peek behind the curtain when the company showed that like-for-like sales had grown by 7.9%, and had shot up even quicker, 8.7%, as online sales soared by nearly half.

However, Mr Mould said this will likely have slowed a little recently.

"It seems logical to assume that the rate of growth eased a bit for the June-to-August period as people began to venture out again and were actively encourage to do so by the Eat Out To Help Out scheme," he said.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown said: "In terms of sales, supermarkets have been among the big winners during the pandemic, as people raced to stock up on lockdown supplies."

She said that Tesco had managed to steal back some of its lost customers from Aldi through online deliveries.

"But now Aldi is making a bigger move into digital grocery sales so those new customers could well be switching back," she said.

Analysts expect the company to reach sales of £58.5 billion in the full financial year, a reduction of around £1 billion on a year earlier.

Operating profit is predicted to be £2.2 billion, according to a company-compiled consensus, with profit before tax of £1.4 billion.