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71. Philip Day, chief executive, Edinburgh Woollen Mill

philip day

Position last year: 52

Philip Day is one of the wealthiest tycoons in retail, owning 100% of the 1,000-store strong Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which includes value chain Peacocks, Scottish golf clothing company ProQuip and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill brand. His fall down the rankings this year, however, is more a reflection of strong new entrants than his performance at the helm of the business.

Under Day, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group enjoyed record annual pre-tax profit, up 28% to £91.2m for the year ended February 28. With plans to open 100 more stores in the next two years, if he delivers he’s likely to rocket up 2016’s list.

The business also clawed back £7m of the £10m owed by womenswear chain Jane Norman, for which it was the secured creditor, after the latter went into administration in 2014.

Despite this, it was an awkward start to the year for Day, who in February was refused permission to challenge a £450,000 fine for felling trees and excavating land in an ancient Cumbrian woodland in 2010.

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