Blog: Green gets shirty

Simon Warburton | 4 March 2010

Having already startled the 200 or so delegates at the Retail World Conference in London this week by maintaining his F&F range would become the world's top fashion brand, Tesco CEO UK Clothing Terry Green had another trick up his sleeve.

Or rather on his chest. Sporting what looked like a very snazzy shirt indeed, Green revealed he had marched into a store - he modestly declined to reveal which one - and promptly handed over a cool GBP275 (US$414) for the garment.

Never mind what salary Green must be on to afford such largesse - and it's safe to assume he's not about to take in washing - the clothing CEO triumphantly announced: "It's made in the same factory we make our shirts." And then the coup de grace: "I'm going to source this fabric and sell it in our F&F range for GBP25!"

The audience murmured appreciatively at the theatre of it all, although it's not known if any Jermyn Street retailers who may have been in the audience,  shared quite the same enthusiasm.

And not just content with his shirt stunt, Green aimed both barrels at Sir Stuart Rose who had gone several combative rounds in the ring with the conference host earlier in the day.

"Rose is missing the point," he boomed, (It's a fair bet Sir Stuart hasn't been addressed by just his surname for some time) before proceeding to claim world domination for the F&F range in a few, short years.

Green was on parade at 12:30 and had gamely hung around all morning to listen to the various speakers - unlike Charlie Mayfield and er, Rose, who had swept imperiously out of the auditorium as soon as their deliveries were over.

He also treated us to a sepia-tinted trip down memory lane, neatly summarising decade by decade various fashions and styles and even revealing his parents would periodically stroll down to the local working men's club gloriously dressed in a fur coat and suit.

So on to the sourcing debate which - although in the post-lunch graveyard slot - was enlivened by Debenhams' divisional trading director Adam Creasey, who looked - and sounded - as if he'd be perfectly at home in an East End boxing club.

Discussing the dangers of driving down supplier costs so far it became counter-productive, Creasey sought an analogy and plumped for the car world. "A fabric yarn count could be a Rolls-Royce or a Lada," he announced before adding: "You might end up with a Volkswagen."

He paused, desperately seeking another manufacturer. "Or a Toyota!"

Poor old Toyota, they even take a bashing at a retail conference.

By Simon Warburton.


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