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Neil Clifford, Chief executive, Kurt Geiger

Shifting Kurt Geiger’s positioning to the so-called sweet spot somewhere between the high street and luxury goods markets helped chief executive Neil Clifford secure a flurry of bids from private equity firms when the business was put up for sale a year ago.

While other retail deals failed to secure their asking price and other footwear specialists collapsed into administration, Clifford was able to attract bids north of £100 million and the business was eventually sold to Graphite Capital for £95m in February.

A continued focus on delivering own-label product with unique design handwriting via the Kurt Geiger, KG and Carvela labels, helped sales rise by 7.8% to £140.2m for the year ended February 2.

Nigel Blow, chief executive of Dublin department store Brown Thomas, who previously worked with Clifford at Kurt Geiger, says: “Despite the Thom Browne suits he wears, Neil is the most grounded guy in luxury retail with unrivalled determination to succeed.”

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