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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 100. Stephen Marks, chief executive, French Connection

Stephen Marks, French Connection

It has been bumpy year, but there are signs that French Connection may have turned a corner. It shrank its losses in the first half of the year, with group operating loss before tax standing at £5.7m for the six months to 31 July, compared with £7.9m the previous year. However, group revenue dipped by 1.6% on a reported basis to £68.1m.

The business has brought in former Very Exclusive managing director Sarah Curran and former Moss Bros chief financial officer Robin Piggott as non-executive directors. However, investor unease reared its head again this year, and controversial board re-appointments were narrowly voted through at its AGM in May.

The retailer last month unveiled new store concept at its new northern flagship in Manchester, which also signalled its strategy to integrate digital with its physical shop environment by equipping its staff with iPads.

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