Investors in Marks & Spencer, those trusting souls who thought they were buying into a stable, well run, rock solid business, look like having to swallow another big dollop of disappointment this week.
The one-time queen of the high street will cap a year of turmoil and uncertainty tomorrow by announcing yet another poor sales performance after previously staunch customers walked away in droves. Chief executive Stuart Rose is widely expected to announce annual pre-tax profits in the region of £610 million compared with £805 million the previous year.
Both of M&S's staples, clothes and food, are believed to have performed badly - despite Mr Rose's assurances that all would be well once that nasty predator Philip Green had been seen off.
And what chance does M&S have of turning things round when the boardroom resembles a nest of vipers?
Senior non-exec Kevin Lomax is sitting tight and resisting efforts to oust him; new chairman Lord (Terry) Burns isn't due to take office until 2006; and for good measure the Sunday Times reported yesterday that all but one of the ten (ten!) directors who have decamped in the last year have sold most of their shares.
That's some vote of confidence on part of those best placed to know in what direction the company's going.
No wonder its shopfloor staff (the "poor bloody infantry" of the retail world) look so demoralised and demotivated.
If M&S were alone in its misery it would be bad enough but it isn't. Instead it's merely another example of just how badly a large number of big British companies are being managed.
To list them all would make for a depressing Monday morning read, but the casualty roll call cannot be ignored entirely.
Sainsbury's, once the country's biggest supermarket and by-word for value and excellence, is taking a seemingly endless cold bath.
WH Smith and Boots are proving that having virtual monopolies is not enough to guarantee a decent return.
(While I'm on the subject of WH Smith, would somebody in authority please get the manager of its big Birmingham branch to switch off the incessant pop music and promotional drivel that makes for such an unpleasant "shopping experience"?)
And being untainted by trendy metropolitan business theories has not saved nononsense supermarket group Wm Morrison from chronic indigestion after making a dog's dinner of absorbing rival Safeway.
Then there's the spectacle of executive chairman Sir Ken Morrison refusing to accept there's "trouble at t' mill" and seemingly resisting all attempts to prise his fingers off the levers of power.
All of which has left Tesco blazing a trail that no other retailer seems capable of following.
Far be it for a pro-business newspaper such as The Birmingham Post to carp at such success - but, it has to be said, there could be danger ahead.
Tesco is showing signs of becoming too powerful and too big for its boots, which is bad news for both its suppliers and its customers.