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John Shannon, Owner, Adams Kids

It came as a surprise when Adams Kids was rescued from administration in 2007 by John Shannon, former owner of footwear chain Stead & Simpson.

It came as more of a shock when the entrepreneur explained his plans for the kidswear brand, which he envisioned as becoming a “Topshop for kids”.

He hired David Carter-Johnson, former managing director of the kidswear retailer in the 1980s, as chief executive to help restructure the management team and he strengthened the brand’s design credentials courtesy of River Island’s womenswear designer of 10 years, Lindsey Williams.

Early indications have been positive. Sales at the trial store in Lewisham, south-east London, were up 27% in the first six weeks of trading. But the kidswear market is a tough sector, and with the economic decline in full swing, 2009 will be the year to see if the new-look Adams has the legs Shannon claims it does.

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