Chairman, House of Fraser
It’s been a year of revivals for veteran retailer Don McCarthy, who has nursed department store chain House of Fraser back to health by focusing on its own brands after it climbed out of the Icelandic banking disaster in 2009.
The business revived the Dickins & Jones name as an own label in autumn 10, and McCarthy also led the acquisition of iconic 1960s brand Biba for House of Fraser - which has become one of its best-performing own brands, taking £300,000 in its first week on sale and helping to deliver a point of difference and crucial extra margin. A resulting rise in footfall is also thought to have put HoF a nose ahead of Debenhams in trading terms.
McCarthy has also reset the banking covenants for HoF, bringing it some much-needed financial security. For the full year to January 31, EBITDA rose 20% to about £70m and the business repaid £45m of debt.
HoF also expanded online with the introduction of click-and-collect, international delivery and in-store web-assisted sales - all helping to drive more than 100% annual growth of online sales.