Green targets Chinese launch, as he tells retailers to 'stop crying' about trading

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The Independent Online

Sir Philip Green, the owner of the fashion group Arcadia, hopes to launch its first Topshop and Topman stores in China next year, as the billionaire said retailers should focus on improving their performance and stop "crying" about tough trading conditions on the high street.

The entrepreneur yesterday unveiled a leap in annual profits at Arcadia, which also runs the Bhs and Burton brands, and revealed he is plotting a "major push" of its fledgling operation in the US.

Sir Philip has a team looking at locations in Beijing, Shanghai and second-tier cities in China, but has not yet decided whether to open its own stores or use a franchise partner for them.

He said: "It is a big market and we don't want to have an accident. We want to take our time in China."

But he was more bullish about expanding its presence in the US beyond its three combined Topshop and Topman stores in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, as well as its presence in 14 Nordstrom department stores.

Sir Philip has previously stated he wants 20 "flagship" stores in the US over the next three to five years, but yesterday said: "We might go quicker. We plan to have a major push in the US over the next year or two."

Arcadia, which also operates the Wallis, Evans, Outfit, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge brands, grew its pre-tax profits 25 per cent to £166.9m over the year to 25 August, on total sales down marginally to £2.68bn.

Sir Philip said: "Our best-performing brand was Topman. Topshop and Miss Selfridge also had a good year."

He added that this month's launch of the clothing collection from the reality TV stars Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian in Dorothy Perkins had got off to an "encouraging" start.

But Arcadia's UK underlying retail sales fell by 3.2 per cent over the year to August, highlighting the tough trading conditions on the high street.

Sir Philip, who bought Arcadia for £850m in 2002, said that retailers had to respond to these straitened times by improving the quality of their products and pricing.

He said: "We've got to up our game. If we sit there and cry and put on my front window the Bank of England said X, it isn't going to help me take any money."