Position last year: 3
There are not many people in the fashion industry that garner as much respect and admiration for their persistent retailing prowess as Paul Marchant. The leader of one of the UK’s largest high street names, which dominates the value sector, Marchant has built on his incredibly strong track record over recent years to lead the business through yet another phenomenal year in 2015.
His key move this year has been the transatlantic expansion of Primark with the first US store having opened in Boston in September, swiftly followed by a second last month at the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania. With Marchant’s many competitors unable to get close to the relentless growth he has forged at Primark both in the UK and across the other nine countries it now trades in, his stewardship this year led to a boost in sales of 13% in the 12 months to September 12, at constant currency. A whopping 20 new stores and almost 1 million sq ft of space were added to its retail portfolio, with Primark ending the period with 293 stores worldwide.
And impressively, all this growth has been achieved while Marchant has held firm and not pushed Primark to follow the tide of retailers seeking a more multichannel approach to commerce. Unwavering and confident in his stance, he instead oversaw the relaunch of the non-transactional website in June offering enhanced editorial features, social media links and improved navigation to help build brand awareness whilst directing traffic back to its physical shops.
With so much under his belt already, Marchant shows no signs of slowing down the pace of progress and innovation at Primark as we head into 2016.