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44. Jane Shepherdson, chief executive, Whistles

Jane Shepherdson, Whistles

Position last year: 33

Jane Shepherdson falls 11 places in this year’s list as despite sales growing 11% to £62.9m for the year to January 31, the business made a pre-tax loss of £2.4m after swallowing the cost of launching menswear, expanding in the US and replatforming its website.

Now a year old, the menswear collection is said to be performing well although no sales figures have yet been released, and the long-term ambition is to open standalone stores. The 100-piece collection is currently stocked in 23 of Whistles’ 48 womenswear stores, including the most recent flagship in Westfield London, which opened in November.

During this year, Shepherdson has also expanded Whistles in the US with 10 points of sale in Bloomingdale’s, with further expansion planned on the West Coast early next year.

The investments, which proved a setback in terms of profit, are likely to position the business for future growth and we expect to see Shepherdson climb again next year.

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