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Rob Templeman

Chief executive, Debenhams

Who stole Christmas 2008? Rob Templeman, who has overseen a reversal of the department store chain’s fortunes this year, with sales on an improving trend and its share price rising.

He called last year’s festive trading period better than his rivals, slashing prices and extending the chain’s Spectacular Sales to steal a march on what little consumer spend was available following the banking crisis.

His discount-led strategy hasn’t harmed margin, with Templeman planning promotions into own-label buy and adding value into its products to convincingly drive exit-level pricing.

Templeman has goaded rivals with similar promotional tactics this Christmas but so far most have resisted joining his Sale games.

In addition to raising £323m via a share placing to fund acquisitions such as that of Danish department store Magasin du Nord, Templeman rescued the Principles womenswear name, signed Henry Holland to the Designers At roster and intends to further drive the own-label offer next year.

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