Philip Green bigraphy, stories - Fashion

Philip Green : biography

15 March 1952 -

Sir Philip Green (born 15 March 1952) is a British businessman and the CEO of the Arcadia Group, a retail giant that includes Topshop, BHS and Dorothy Perkins.


Philip Green was born on 15 March 1952 in Croydon, in South London, the son of a successful Jewish property developer and retailer. 4 April 2009 He has a sister, Elizabeth, five years his senior. His family moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb, a middle-class enclave in north London, and at the age of nine he was sent to the now-closed Jewish boarding school Carmel College in Oxfordshire. When his father died of a heart attack, Philip was in line to inherit the family business at the age of twelve. After leaving boarding school at 15, he worked for a shoe importer before travelling to the US, Europe and the Far East. It was on his return that he set up his first business with a £20,000 loan, importing jeans from the Far East to sell on to retailers in London.

In 1979, Green bought up the entire stock of ten designer label clothes sellers who had gone into receivership for extremely low prices. He then had the newly bought clothes sent to the dry cleaners, got them put on hangers, wrapped them in polythene to make them look new, and then bought a place to sell them to the public.

Amber Day

In 1988, he became Chairman and Chief Executive of a quoted company called Amber Day, a discount retailer. The shares performed well, but then suffered a series of profit downgrades and in 1992 he resigned when the company failed to meet its profit forecast. He has not led a quoted company since, instead working with other entrepreneurs, including Tom Hunter (a sports shoe millionaire and one of the richest men in Scotland) and the Barclay brothers, to help fund his entrepreneurship.


In the early 1990s Green bought the department store chain Owen Owen which at the time had about 12 branches trading under the Owen Owen and Lewis's brand names. During his ownership, most of these department stores were sold to other operators including Debenhams and Allders or were closed, leaving only the Liverpool branch trading as Lewis's. In 2004 this remaining store was sold off.

In 1995 he linked with Tom Hunter to buy sports retailer Olympus as part of a merger. The price was £1, plus the assumption of £30 million in debt. Green and his partners sold the company three years later to JJB Sports for £550 million. Green walked away £73 million richer. That encouraged the Barclay brothers to back him in the £538m acquisition of the Sears retail chain (a different Sears from Sears, Roebuck and Company) in 1999. The subsequent disposal programme (including selling some of the assets, ironically, to Arcadia) raised £729m and confirmed his reputation as a man who could deliver exceptional results in the retail sector.

BHS, Arcadia, Topshop

Green came to public attention in 1999 when he assisted Tina Green to make a £9-billion hostile bid for Marks and Spencer (M&S). However, the leaking of the bid forced up M&S's share price. The board of M&S were also hostile to the bid and sought to block it. Eventually Green gave up and helped his wife purchase the ailing retail chain British Home Stores for £200 million. His takeover came when everyone else had dismissed the company as a failing brand and unfixable. Green put up £50 million of his own money and borrowed another £150 million to seal the deal. Green completely turned the company around and the chain is now thought to be worth over £1.2 billion. Since Green took over, profits have tripled to over £600m per year.

Next, Green assisted Tina Green in the purchase of the Arcadia Group, which owns well-known High Street chains such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topshop/Topman and Wallis in 2002. The company was briefly owned by Green but sold to Tina Green within 24 hours, with Philip acting as CEO.

The Arcadia Group has been profitable, and currently has pre-tax profits of around £380 million per year.

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