Retail's rock star revels in spotlight

In the wake of his bid for M&S, billionaire Philip Green has emerged as the closest thing retail has to a rock star.

From a public row with rival Stuart Rose to abruptly terminating an interview with Channel 4 News, Green's unconventional and rumbustious behaviour has brought him acres of press coverage.

Confirming his celebrity status, Green's interview at Tuesday's Sunday Times UK Business Week conference was preceded by an introduction by Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Brown declared himself proud to be 'the warm-up act for Philip Green'.

Green, dubbed Lord of the Aisles, has so far come through the M&S fight with his status enormously enhanced. However, he is regarded as a volatile stock by some.

Evolution analyst Nick Bubb said: 'Green is a formidable operator, but a PR man's nightmare. He has never been able to see that the way he behaves is what gets people's backs up.'

Green takes the rough and the smooth in his stride. Asked by one audience member at the conference how he deals with stress, Green simply replied: 'Keep taking the tablets.'

His ambition remains unabated. Asked which retailers he has his eye on apart from M&S, however, he was uncharacteristically reticent. 'This week or next? I just couldn't answer you. I simply haven't thought about it,' he said, unconvincingly.