Philip Green is setting up the Fashion Retail Academy to develop a “conveyor belt of talent” that will bring in new blood to Britain’s high-street chains such as BHS and Arcadia. He put an initial £10m behind the project and this was matched by the government. The scheme will take on its first students this autumn. Green bought the 160-store BHS chain for £200m from the Storehouse Group in 2000. Sales nearly doubled between 2001 and 2002, but have since remained steady, reaching £890m in the year to March 2004. Gross margins have risen by about 12 percentage points since the acquisition.
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