In his first 10 months in control of Arcadia, Philip Green doubled operating profits to an annualised £228m in the year to August 2003. Sales were down slightly at £1,823m, because the Principles chain was sold off. The Monaco-based entrepreneur, who also owns BHS (No 34 in this league table), bought the group that owns high-street chains such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Burton for £866m in October 2002. The company has been focusing on selling its stock faster, which has meant less reliance on discounted sales, and Green has installed a separate team at each of the chains to make sure that their brand identity remains clear. The surge in profits means that Arcadia has been able to reduce the bank debt incurred during the takeover to just £400m, repaying three years ahead of schedule.
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