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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 72. Peter Williams, CEO and founder, Jack Wills

Last year: 74

Peter Williams

Peter Williams has been back at the helm of Jack Wills – the brand he founded in 1999, but stepped back from in 2013 – as chief executive since 2015. Last October he teamed up with BlueGem Capital Partners, the owner of luxury department store Liberty, to acquire the preppy brand from its long-term investor Inflexion.

Now firmly back in control, Williams has put in place a focus on developing high-quality product and driving full-price sales. Jack Wills made an operating profit of £730,000 for the year to 29 January 2017, compared with a £13.8m loss the year before, suggesting Williams’ strategy is bearing fruit.

Sales were up 4% year on year to £142.4m. Williams said “momentum has very much returned to the business”, and outlined plans to open 10 more stores within the current financial year. 

In September, the business revealed plans to scale up its wholesale operations in the UK and overseas. Williams predicts this will “significantly” increase its international brand awareness – and, by extension, sales.

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