Blog: Topshop boss protects strong retail hand

Joe Ayling | 14 April 2008

I have re-commenced news desk duties after attending the World Retail Congress in Barcelona last week, and this starry-eyed picture with retail entrepreneur Sir Philip Green is definitely the 'top-shot' of my trip.

The photo was taken after the Arcadia Group and Bhs owner made a guest appearance in Spain and spoke glowingly about the global expansion of Topshop in particular.

The chain will hit New York in October and is widely expected to do well in the US, with an excitable fan-base there already.

Meanwhile, Sir Philip - who along with Stuart Rose is a favourite subject with business media in the UK - has been fielding questions about the possible sale of Bhs.

He has denied the rumours and such a move seems unlikely despite falling sales at the department store chain.

Although the real estate portfolio of Bhs would be worth its weight in gold to the likes of Tesco or Primark, Sir Philip does not strike me as somebody who'd give up on the chain he acquired eight years ago and has since turned around into a profitable business.

It would also seem that the growth of his Arcadia Group, which includes Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge as well as Topshop, is sufficient to leverage any underlying sales glitches at Bhs.

Furthermore, he still has the trump card of a stock market flotation for either business to play - should he need it.

Judging by my brief encounter though, and this photo itself, Sir Philip is poker faced enough to keep people guessing. Not sure if the same applies to me, mind you.

Joe Ayling, news editor


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