80 Alan Giles, chairman, Fat Face
2007 RANK: 51

One of the industry’s most recognised figures, the former HMV chief executive is now firmly established as chairman of rapidly growing surfwear chain Fat Face.

He oversaw the£360 million sale of the business to Bridgepoint Capital last March and has embarked on a rapid expansion plan. Fat Face sales rose 19 per cent to£61.7 million in the six months to December 1 last year.

But times have since got much tougher.

81 Sara Weller, managing director, Argos
2007 RANK: 87

The affable and down-to-earth head of Argos may keep a relatively low profile, but Weller ranks among some of the most respected women in retail.

Aside from overseeing the business’s expansion into India, Argos is a consistently strong performer within Home Retail Group and it has successfully ridden out the threat of the Tesco Direct catalogue.

82 Tim Steiner, chief executive, Ocado
2007 RANK: N/A

Aside from pushing into new categories including babywear, last year former Goldman Sachs banker Steiner revealed the news many thought they would never hear; that Ocado has moved into profitability.

His profile is on the up and he’s even managed to upset Tesco, with ad claims that Ocado would match the grocery giant’s prices on “all household brands”.

83 Jacqueline Gold, chief executive, Ann Summers
2007 RANK: 74

Gold’s celebrity status continues apace, with countless TV and magazine appearances, including The Apprentice for Sport Relief. But the woman who has commercialised sex in the UK has had a tough year.

Last summer revealing profits almost halved, although things have anecdotally picked up since.

84 Robert Tchenguiz, property tycoon
2007 RANK: 37

Tchenguiz made a huge splash in the sector last year when he, alongside Qatari investment fund Delta Two, attempted a takeover of Sainsbury’s after seeing the potential value in the supermarket chain’s estate.

However, it has been far from a fairytale year for the property tycoon; his stakebuilding failed to culminate in a successful bid and he suffered heavy personal losses in several of his investments.

He is now trying to sell Somerfield.

85 David Dalziel, founder, Dalziel + Pow
2007 RANK: 88

David Dalziel is one of the most visible faces in retail store design. His company is behind HMV’s Next Generation stores, Primark’s Oxford Street flagship and has also developed a store format for Gap to make it more relevant to the European market.

Other clients include Next, River Island, Blacks and Evans and the Scotsman has played a key role in the success of many of his retail clients.

86 Pierre Omidyar, founder, eBay
2007 RANK: 21

Omidyar’s 13-year-old creation has given retailers headaches over the years, but some are now fighting back and taking the site to court for selling counterfeit branded products. They’re also beginning to benefit from the site by using it to sell surplus stock.

Nevertheless, Omidyar – a well-known philanthropist – continues to register phenomenal traffic and eBayhas enabled him to become the 120th richest man in the world.

87 Nick Samuel, managing director, Hobbs
2007 RANK: 87

Samuel’s mid-upmarket women’s fashion chain continues to defy market conditions and produce very healthy sales and profits figures.

Samuel has set ambitious targets for the future too. He aims to double turnover at the ladies fashion chain to£200 million over the next few years. International expansion is at the centre of his strategy. He is eyeing opportunities in India, China, Japan and South Korea and will open Hobbs’ first store on the US East Coast over the coming months.

88 Gerry Johnson, managing director, Waterstone’s
2007 RANK: N/A

Sales at the bookselling division of HMV Group disappointed for much of last year and lagged behind the rest of the group. Festive sales figures showed some uplift, but the threat from pure-play e-tailers and the supermarkets will only intensify.

HMV may have been grabbing the headlines with its recovery, but by improving the gross margin in the highly competitive Christmas book market, while also growing like-for-likes by 4 per cent, Johnson appears to be taking the bookseller in the right direction.

89 Angela Spindler, managing director, Debenhams
2007 RANK: 42

Spindler has gone from leading Asda’s£2 billion fashion operation to number three at Debenhams, where she is poised to play a key role in turning round the chain.

Asda has been claiming that George had lost its way ahead of her departure, but Spindler comes to Debenhams with a strong operational reputation from the roles she carried out for the Wal-mart subsidiary.

90 Michael Gutman, managing director, UK and Europe, Westfield
2007 RANK: N/A

Westfield London is the most eagerly awaited retail development in a decade and, when it opens in autumn, it will change the face of London retailing.

UK retail had a taste of things to come when the Aussie shopping centre giant made its UK debut in Derby, but White City promises to be the acid test of whether it can add something new to UK shopping centres.

91 Anthony Thompson, managing director, George
2007 RANK: N/A

The man who now sits at Angela Spindler’s old desk certainly has ambitious goals. Since taking over Asda’s clothing business in September he has spoken of his intention to make it the biggest clothing retailer by volume by 2011.

His background as M&S retail director should help with getting the business back on top form.

92 Stephen Robertson, director-general, BRC
2007 RANK: N/A

Kevin Hawkins’ replacement has landed himself with what is widely considered to be one of the toughest jobs in retail. He faces a tough challenge in speaking for all the members, but the ever-cheerful former Woolworths marketing director has already thrown himself into the role with gusto.

93 George Davies, fashion entrepreneur
2007 RANK: 90

As if creating Next, George at Asda and Marks & Spencer’s Per Una wasn’t enough, the Liverpudlian fashion legend and ardent football fan George Davies is now focusing his attentions on expanding his S’porter business into a global enterprise. He believes it could grow to be a£100 million business.

Per Una will also be vital in helping Sir Stuart Rose out of the hole he is in .

94 Joseph Wan, chief executive, Harvey Nichols
2007 RANK: 92

Under Hong Kong-born accountancy-trained Wan, the luxury department store chain has sailed happily along on the crest of the luxury retail wave.

The ultra-polite and gentlemanly group chief executive continues to get results, but he has also shown his fiery side this year over Government plans to levy a£30,000 annual charge for wealthy non-doms.

95 John Hannett, general secretary, Usdaw
2007 RANK: N/A

The main trade union for shop and distribution workers had a successful 2007, with its biggest membership increase since 1990.

Hannett says that over the coming year the union will focus on recruiting the increasing numbers of migrant and agency workers in the UK.

Perhaps most significantly, Hannett has taken the new role of commissioner of the National Minimum Wage. Through Usdaw, he continues to campaign for 18- to 21-year-olds to receive the adult rate of minimum pay.

96 Micky Jagtiani, chief executive, Landmark Group
2007 RANK: N/A

Led by former London cabbie Jagtiani, Dubai-based Landmark Group is fast becoming a global powerhouse and has ambitions in the UK.

Jagtiani’s stakebuilding in Debenhams has been fuelling speculation that a bid could be on the horizon – Landmark owns a 9 per cent stake in the department store chain.

Jagtiani also has links with Icelandic investor Baugur, which owns a 13 per cent stake in Debenhams. Landmark now has 600 shops in India, Spain and the Middle East.

97 Nick Bubb, analyst, Pali International
2007 RANK: 96

Probably quoted in the media more than any other retail sector analyst, Bubb’s verdicts and opinions on retailers and industry developments are crucial in shaping opinion. His wide-ranging weekly note and a stream of of company-specific reports – sometimes withering but usually well-informed – are required reading by store chiefs and investors.

98 Tim Greenhalgh, chief creative officer, Fitch
2007 RANK: 100

Greenhalgh heads the creative arm of the retail design consultancy, whose clients include Marks & Spencer and Tesco. One of the agency’s most recent projects is Harrods at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. He is based in London, but is charged with overseeing the creative output of 19 offices worldwide.

99 Bill Grimsey, chief executive, Focus
2007 RANK: N/A

DIY veteran Bill Grimsey proved his worth again when he was parachuted in to revive the fortunes of Focus. He delivered the 100-day turnaround he promised to private equity owner Cerberus in just 90 days. The business had 254 stores and£285 million of debt when Grimsey took charge; now, it has 174 stores and debt of less than£100 million. Times are still tough though.

100 The administrator
2007 RANK: N/A

They’re the busiest people on the retail scene. Ethel Austin, The Works and Stead & Simpson are just a few of the retailers that have already fallen pray to the administrator this year. No one knows how long this economic slowdown will last, but that list is only likely to get longer and at a frightening rate. Downturns are times when the good retailers can get leaner and stronger, but there’s going to be a huge shake-up of the weak.