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78 Tom Joule New

Chief executive, Joules

If product is king, then Tom Joules is the kingmaker. His lifestyle brand and retailer, Joules, has hit the mark with the country-inspired prints and natural fabrics that characterise its casualwear offer, as well as its premium sub-brand Boutique, persuading customers to defy the downturn and part with more of their cash.

Operating profits almost trebled to £5.2m in the year to May 1, and sales climbed from £35m to £51.1m. According to the man himself, the company is on track for £65m in sales this financial year, and has grown its stockists from 500 to more than 700 during 2010.

That trajectory looks set to continue well into 2011 following a raft of heavyweight hirings in November, including former Jack Wills head of design Lynsey Scott as creative director, former Fat Face chief executive Louise Barnes as chairman and former Crombie managing director Colin Porter as chief operating officer.

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