Perennial deal-maker and entrepreneur John Lovering has gone and done it again in spectacular style. In a market where big deals are becoming a rarity, the Somerfield chairman managed to pull off one of the biggest deals of the year with the sale of the grocery chain to Co-operative Group, which explains his rapid rise up this year’s power list.

Lovering’s years of high street experience are also proving invaluable at Debenhams. As a mid-market department store retailer the odds are stacked against it, but the strong start revealed in April this year - a 10.7 per cent rise in first-half pre-tax profits - is evidence of the successful management team that is in place.

Consolidating these results remains the challenge for the rest of this year, but in the meantime he is unlikely to shy away from a tempting deal should one come his way.