John Gibson: All smiles from happy retailer

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Laughing all the way to the wardrobe. Paul Slater, managing director of Slaters, the outfitters, was beaming when he called in at George Street, one of their 22 branches in the UK.

You won’t find many all-smiling, all-dancing retailers in Edinburgh these days.

“We’re not denying we’re having to work for it but we’re not complaining either,’’ smiled Glaswegian Paul, who took over the company from his founder father Ralph 15 years ago.

“We are offering a suit, tie and shoes for £75, a sign of these austere times. Our unwavering policy has been to provide the personal touch from the day we opened here in December 2000.’’

A tie? They’ve seemed unfashionable but Mr Slater is in favour.

“The days of dressing down could be on the way out, again to do with austerity. Men are chasing jobs and they’ll want to look smarter with a tie.’’

At George Street I found a chair still warm from the previous customer, football pundit Pat Nevin. The game’s Gordon Strachan and Ally McCoist were recently suited and booted there.

This despite the improbable management team in Edinburgh. Motherwell-born Peter Chesney is a big Celtic man and his Broxburn-born deputy Sandy Bisset is a rabid Rangers enthusiast.

In it on his own

Howzit going, then, Prime Minister Cameron’s pledge to crack down on cheap booze in shops, clubs and pubs?

I’m being reminded that before Call Me Dave became Tory leader in 2005 he was linked with bar chain Urbium, whose cheapo cocktails included the “slippery nipple”.

Reputedly, Dave, who often looks like he’s salivating, pocketed £28,000 from Urbium and a rumoured 40 grand in shares.

We’re all in this together, he keeps telling us. Yeah, sure!