I read a summary of a recently released biography on abrasive Ryan Air boss Michael O’Leary last Sunday. I heard not so long ago that the Irish low-fare pioneer was the 3rd biggest airline in the world by market capitalisation. I was hoping the article would give an insight into O’Leary’s thinking; he mostly favours incessant cost reduction.
Before he joined the airline, he ran a newsagents in Dublin. It made £1,000 in sales a day. His philosophy was to treble the cash, he should open at 7am, close at 11pm. Nothing particularly new in this. Then as Christmas approached, he reckoned he could make a few extra quid.
He stocked up on things he thought people might want on Christmas Day. He went out and bought loads of them. Especially packets of 200s cigarettes, batteries and boxes of chocolates. Then he marked them up to triple their normal price.
When he opened on the day itself (unknown in Ireland the 80s), he sold out by lunchtime, and had raked in a mind-blowing £14,000.