Bhs dividend pays Green and family £3.6m a week

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The Independent Online

Philip Green and his family earned the equivalent of £3.6m a week from their Bhs store chain in the year to 27 March, the retail tycoon disclosed yesterday.

Philip Green and his family earned the equivalent of £3.6m a week from their Bhs store chain in the year to 27 March, the retail tycoon disclosed yesterday.

Mr Green revealed that Bhs, in which he and his family have a 94 per cent shareholding, made an operating profit of £111.6m, a rise of 5.8 per cent, on sales up just 0.9 per cent to £889.8m.

The company's dividend for the full year was £199.5m paid out to shareholders in two distributions - £156.75m at the end of the first six months of the year and £42.75m at the end of the second half. Mr Green and his family were paid £187.5m in dividends during the course of the year.

Tom Hunter, Mr Green's fellow retail entrepreneur, owns 5 per cent of Bhs and received dividends in the year worth £9.97m while Robin Saunders, the Texan investment banker who helped Mr Green finance his original bid for Bhs, received £1m for her 0.5 per cent stake. Dan Sladden, another of Mr Green's investment banking contacts, also owns a 0.5 per cent share in the business.

Analysts poring over the Bhs figures yesterday suggested that Bhs was worth about £800m compared with the £200m Mr Green paid for it in 2000. Since then he has increased operating profits from £12m to nearly 10 times that figure.

Yesterday he promised more success for the store chain with the appointment of a new senior team to try to spearhead further growth. Stephanie Chen and Steve Lawton have been hired as womenswear and menswear buying directors, with design teams being recruited for the first time.

"We've got this far without having senior people," Mr Green said yesterday. "We've now got to move the product on. We are doing a store refurbishment with better layouts and a better look. The busi- ness needed the next move."

Mr Green recently announced a £20m refurbishment programme for the chain's top 50 stores with investment also going into 18 smaller stores, and a new store-opening programme. He is also planning a Christmas advertising campaign.

All of this is partly designed to add pressure on Marks & Spencer, the ailing retailer which Mr Green failed to acquire this summer after a proposal for a 400p-a-share offer was rejected by the M&S board.

Mr Green said that although sales at Bhs were up only marginally, the net cash inflow from operating activities rose from £146.67m to £162.87m.

He said: "We've got an efficient supply chain and efficient management. Cash contribution on a store-by-store basis was up and the gross margin was up 1.4 per cent." Womenswear and menswear were trading satisfactorily, although home was "soft", he added. "Generally it's okay but there have been no fireworks," Mr Green said.

The company has net debt of £113.1m.

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