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Don McCarthy

Chairman, House of Fraser

2009 has been a troubled year for department store retailer House of Fraser in the wake of the collapse of the Icelandic banking sector and the administration of investor Baugur in February.

Three years after a consortium of investors including Don McCarthy - himself a Baugur shareholder - snapped up the department store for £341m, propelling it towards its goal of becoming a national premium department store to rival Selfridges, McCarthy has found himself fending off takeover speculation and refinancing rumours.

However, McCarthy, a veteran retailer and businessman, has responded by issuing decent figures - like-for-like sales rose 1.3% over the six weeks to September 5, while EBITDA climbed 16.3% to £10.7m in the 26 weeks to July 25 - proving he can more than navigate market turbulence.

He continues to drive own brand, upping it from 9% to 30% of the total mix and has signalled an intention to take House of Fraser overseas.

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