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90 Melissa Potter

Chief executive, Clarks

There was a positive end to Melissa Potter’s first full year at the helm of footwear giant Clarks, as pre-tax profits for the year to January 31, 2011 broke the £100m barrier for the first time in the footwear retailer’s 185-year history. Pre-tax profits soared 28% to £108.7m, bouncing back after a 2% drop the year

before and in spite of a languid UK market. For the remainder of this year, however, things have been a lot tougher as the group reported a 21% slump in pre-tax profits for the six months to July 31, due, it said, to a combination of difficult UK trading conditions, higher product costs and a rise in promotional activity.

Last year’s position 84

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