|The Apprentice episode|
|Task:||Choose and sell wedding dresses|
|Project Managers:|| Lucinda (Alpha)|
|Team Changes:||Claire moves to Alpha; Helene and Sara move to Renaissance.|
|Airdate:||May 14th 2008|
|Series Four Tasks:|
Week Eight saw the two teams asked to pick a set of wedding dresses, and an additional set of goods alongside them, at a bridal exhibition in Birmingham.
For the final time in the series, Sir Alan did not pick team leaders and allowed them to decide among themselves who should lead the task. Lucinda volunteered to lead Alpha, and decided to send Raef and Claire to look at the wedding dresses, while she and Lee looked at the other items they could sell. The team decided to choose dresses by high-end designer Ian Stewart, and bridal lingerie for honeymoons. Lucinda mentioned to the lingerie supplier that it would be displayed alongside Ian Stewart's dresses, and this secured the deal for Alpha.
At the exhibition, Lucinda and Claire alternated throughout the day in modelling and selling the dresses, while Lee sold the lingerie and Raef advertised their products (spending a large part of the day dressed up as a giant teddy bear). Alpha managed to start selling their lingerie early on, but had trouble selling their dresses, with the price apparently being an issue to a lot of the future brides. However, later in the day several women that had been looking at the dresses earlier came back to Alpha's stand and decided to buy an Ian Stewart dress. By the end of the day they had made three dress sales, alongside a large amount of lingerie sold by Lee.
While Michael had asked to be made team leader again the previous week, he distanced himself from the position and said that he wasn't the right leader for this task (as did Alex). As a result, Helene stepped up to the team leader's position, and decided to split her team so that they would each see two wedding dresses and two extra items. Before she looked at any of the dresses she decided that she would prefer to choose lower priced dresses and rely on selling plenty of them, as she doubted there would be any market for the higher-priced dresses. Michael and Sara saw the Ian Stewart dresses as well and recommended them to Helene, but she stuck to her game plan and chose dresses by a cheaper supplier. They also tried to get the lingerie to sell, but lost out in the negotiations to Alpha and so chose an experimental wedding cake designer, who produced stacked trays of cupcakes rather than traditional wedding cakes.
The following day, Helene modelled the dresses and did some sales work as well, Alex acted as the main dress salesperson, while Michael and Sara tried to sell the cakes. After a slow start, Alex and Helene started selling their dresses; unfortunately Michael and Sara's attempts at selling the cakes went badly wrong, and they ended up using hard-sell scaremongering tactics, practically trying to intimidate brides-to-be with the thought that a traditional cake would look boring. As a result, despite Alex and Helene selling a number of dresses, Renaissance failed to sell any cakes.
Prior to the boardroom, Helene said to the camera that she desperately hoped Renaissance had won, firstly to vindicate her strategy of selling cheaper dresses, and secondly because she wanted to get Lucinda fired (stemming from their conflict in Week 4).
In the boardroom, Alpha praised Lucinda's management style, but Helene came under criticism for both her team and Sir Alan for her decision not to have any one person view all the dresses. Helene still thought that she had chosen the best dress supplier, but the task results showed otherwise. Alpha's overall sales total was £5,752.99, with Lee contributing £647.24 with lingerie sales and the rest coming from the sales of the three dresses. While Renaissance had sold more dresses, the lower price per dress and failure to sell any cakes meant they only managed £1,925, giving victory to Alpha. Their reward for victory was treatment at a spa.
Renaissance returned to the boardroom, and Sir Alan told Helene that she had made a serious mistake early on which ensured that they never had any chance of winning, namely she projected her own tastes onto the customers at the exhibition and assumed they would go for the cheaper dresses. The end result of this was that they would have had to sell three times as many dresses as they did in order to beat Alpha. Moreover, they had lost out on their choice of lingerie because Alpha had the better prospect of the Ian Stewart dresses to sell them with. Helene blamed Michael and Sara for not giving a strong enough recommendation for the Ian Stewart dresses (which they saw), and for recommending cakes as the second choice instead of something more practical. Margaret also bought up the two's overly hard selling techniques on the cakes. With Alex having been responsible for most of the money that Renaissance did make, there was little surprise as he was allowed to go back to the house, with Helene bringing back Michael and Sara.
In the final boardroom, Helene repeated her point of Michael and Sara not pushing the Ian Stewart dresses hard enough; Michael admitted he hadn't pushed them hard enough, but argued that it was still Helene's fault for having the wrong strategy and choosing dresses that were too cheap. Sara angered Sir Alan by constantly interrupting the other two and talking in excessive detail about her sales technique, which caused Sir Alan to shut her up by telling her that if she had tried such a sales pitch on him, he would have got her head and "pushed it in the bloody cake." He then turned to Helene and told her that she had made the key mistakes in the task that had caused them to lose; however, she had performed well in previous tasks, and so would not be getting fired. He was in a dilemma over whether to fire one or both of the remaining two, but decided that Sara definitely deserved to go and so fired her on the spot. Sir Alan then told Michael that he had grown tired of his excuses and wasn't prepared to hear Michael's usual tactic of admitting all his mistakes; however, he let Michael try and justify himself, and Michael asked to be made project leader one more time - citing his victory as team leader two weeks previously - claiming that he could do a good job again. Sir Alan relented, and Michael and Helene were allowed to return to the house.