Chief executive, Selfridges
Steely Irishman Paul Kelly says he is a shopkeeper above and beyond all else. At his happiest on the shopfloor of Selfridges, Kelly has successfully steered the iconic department store through the choppy waters of the recession.
Selfridges marked its centenary year with characteristic aplomb - sales in the run-up to Christmas are on a roll and the group said its profits would bust the £100m mark this year - up from £88m last year. It’s almost as if Kelly had planned such perfect synchronisation.
Kelly said a robust operational performance, strong product and engaging in-store entertainment had all contributed to the sector-bucking performance, but he warned that 2010 was likely to be tougher owing to weakening consumer sentiment in the face of higher taxes and VAT.
Never one to rest on its laurels, Selfridges has also remodelled its third floor to launch a contemporary and denim destination called 3rd Central.
With a transactional website set to launch next spring and Kelly adding stablemate luxury Irish department store Brown Thomas to his responsibilities, he will have his hands full in the coming year.