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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 14. Paula Nickolds, managing director, John Lewis

Last year: 6 (joint with Andy Street)

Paula Nickolds made a high-level debut on the Top 100 last year as part of a joint entry with outgoing John Lewis managing director Andy Street. Since taking over from Street in January, Nickolds has stuck firmly to the strategy of opening fewer stores in a more considered way. In October John Lewis opened its most experiential store to date at the new Westgate shopping centre development in Oxford.

Describing herself as a “shopping and design junkie”, Nickolds has emphasised her passion for product. In particular, she has thrown her weight behind the strategy of increasing the own brand mix at John Lewis. Over the past 12 months, John Lewis has launched in-house denim label And/Or and premium brand Modern Rarity. Gross sales at the retailer grew by 2.3% to £2bn in the six months to 29 July, and fashion was a standout performer, up 3.5%.

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