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35. John Lyttle, chief operating officer, Primark

John Lyttle

Position last year: 39

This has been an exciting year for John Lyttle and the team at Primark. A move across the Atlantic beckoned in September, with the opening of the value retailer’s first US store in Boston, which was the highlight of a 20-store rollout adding almost 1 million sq ft to Primark’s retail portfolio.

Reporting into CEO Paul Marchant (number 1), Lyttle has actively supported Marchant in the generation of sales that soared 13% during the year ending September 12 to £5.3bn, driven by a 9% increase in retail selling space in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Expansion is the mantra for 2016, with new stores planned for the UK, northeast US, Spain and France. The first Italian store in northwest Milan will open its doors early next summer.

This growth will be facilitated by strengthening Primark’s distribution infrastructure, expanding existing warehouse capacity and opening new facilities in the Czech Republic and US. In October Lyttle also signed off a 10-year lease for one of the largest logistics sites in The Netherlands. Construction on the first phase of the 16-hectare site is expected to be complete by mid-2016.

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