Sir Philip Green was on usual sparkling form this week across the pond.
Speaking in New York, where he unveiled the launch date for his much-anticipated flagship Topshop and Topman store in the city, Green had these words for reporters: “The financial jiggery-pokery and engineering is all over. This is a world where we’re back to the real operators. Back, hopefully, to the merchants and the people who actually love the business and can drive it forward.”
The events of the last few weeks, with the administration of high street fashion financiers Baugur and Icelandic fashion investors Arev prove his first point. The successes of businesses such as Reiss, Ted Baker and Asos, which are backed by retail entrepreneurs who clearly live and breathe their businesses, prove his second point.
And in these times, back-to-basics retailing and entrepreneurship should come to the fore.
There is no place for complacency and hand-rubbing greed in the new world that Green speaks of, whether it is the world’s bankers or retail backers.
Green will open the US$20m (£14m) flagship store in New York in April. Topshop’s reputation for knowing its eclectic customer and offering a broad fashion spectrum of products at the right price will undoubtedly result in its success and the opening of another 15 stores around the country.
Green was buoyant, brushing off fears of the recession and the impact on his business.
And there will be many reasons for retailers to celebrate success this year if they focus on the same principles.
Tonight Retail Week will also be celebrating as it hosts a 21st birthday bash at the recently revamped Liberty with a raft of those very “real operators” and “merchants” to which Green refers.
Retail Week shares a significant birthday this year with retailers including Ted Baker, who is also 21 this year, Selfridges who will kick off centenary celebrations imminently, and the 125th anniversaries of Jaeger and Marks & Spencer. Tomorrow sees the start of the 25th London Fashion Week.