Philip Green has forecast it would take him up to 10 years to turn around Marks & Spencer's fortunes if his takeover bid were to succeed.
'We are happy to invest in M&S as a business over the long term,' he said. 'It is going to take five to 10 years' hard work to get it back to where it belongs - at the forefront of retailing - and that's what we would be committed to.'
Speaking to an audience of entrepreneurs on Tuesday, Green was asked whether his motivation was purely financial. He replied: 'If I didn't love the business, I wouldn't be doing this. M&S is a wonderful brand, but it has been poorly run. I'm not critical of anyone specific, but it has lost its way. I think I can fix it.'
Verdict chairman Richard Hyman said: 'Green's track record is to improve the profit performance of a business quickly, but at Bhs and Arcadia profits have come from reducing costs and negotiating a better operating cost regime, not improving sales. M&S needs to reduce costs, but also to invest in the top line. He could be hinting that he would implement a different strategy if he were to get hold of M&S.'
Meanwhile, new M&S boss Stuart Rose intends to improve performance by fostering the management ethos that existed during its glory days. Then, M&S managers were regarded as the best and given commensurate responsibility.
They usually performed in line with the high expectations awarded to them.