Position last year: 15
The new year brought a new rise in profits for Michael Ward, who spearheaded the push at Knightsbridge luxury emporium Harrods towards pre-tax profit of £146.3m for the year ending January 31. Despite turnover falling from £794m to £769m as a result of “tough trading conditions”, the total amount of money going through the tills grew by 1.2% to £1.6bn.
Under Ward’s watchful eye Harrods has overhauled its menswear department, strengthening its ties with its luxury brands by inviting the likes of Tom Ford and Brioni to take part in its first month-long menswear store takeover in October, with Burberry creating a 28-piece capsule collection in honour of the event.
Despite having the right brands on side, with a customer base heavily weighted towards tourist spend, Harrods remains vulnerable to international issues, a subject close to Ward’s heart. In September he publicly criticised government policy on the Chinese visa application process, claiming it deters wealthy visitors from visiting the UK. Only time will tell how this summer’s turmoil in the Chinese stock market will affect Harrods’ trading for 2015.