Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Market Data 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Monday, 27 March, 2000, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Retail genius to strike again
Philip Green
Philip Green orchestrated the break up and sale of Sears
Mention any retailer in trouble and it is quite likely that Philip Green has considered buying it.

While few customers may know who Philip Green is, there will be few retail operations that don't know the name.

The entrepreneur, who lives as a tax exile in Monaco, has been back in the news, following his recent interest in a possible bid for Marks & Spencer - and now in Bhs.

Mr Green bought and sold Wallis
Mr Green's reputation as an entrepreneur was sealed when he completed a buyout of Sears earlier this year.

He and a consortium of investors, which included the Barclay brothers, bought the company for 548m. His sales of the different parts of Sears, which included Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Warehouse, raised 729m, a profit of 181m for Mr Green and his backers.

Mr Green said at the turn of the year that Marks & Spencer was one of several retailers they were considering, but his intention this time was to manage his purchases, not sell them off piece by piece.

"Anything left in retail is facing management issues and anything I am looking at is on the basis that they have got to be run," he said, adding "I think there are lots of opportunities. When the going gets tough, you have got to make some tough decisions."

One old associate said: 'He's a genius. There's never been anyone better at spotting retail opportunities. I have to have a sneaking admiration for him. But he's completely and utterly ruthless."'

The Marks & Spencer bid would have cost Mr Green 10bn, his biggest deal yet.

Whether Mr Green had what it took to turn Marks & Spencer around - or now Storehouse - has yet to be seen. He faces competition from other potential bidders, which with M&S included Tesco.

Jean genius

In the mid-1980s, he bought Jean Jeanie for 65,000. Then a struggling fashion chain, he turned it around and sold it on for 3m within a year.

The one shadow over Mr Green's reputation is cast by his time as chairman and chief executive of Amber Day, a discount retailer.

When Amber Day failed to meet its profits forecasts and the share price plunged, he resigned in 1992, pocketing a 1.1m pay off.

Mr Green, 47, spends most of his time in Monaco as a tax exile. Born in Croydon, he was privately educated.

He left school without any O levels and began his retail career with a 20,000 loan from the family bank manager.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

13 Jan 99 | The Company File
Mixed fortunes for UK retailers
08 Mar 99 | The Economy
Clothes shops fight for survival
21 Jan 99 | The Company File
Sears turns to Green
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Business stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories