The Business On... Lord Harris of Peckham, Chairman, Carpetright

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The Independent Online

Surely the old Tory is happy now that his party is back in power?

Maybe not. Away from politics, Lord Harris of Peckham is best known for being chairman and chief executive of Carpetright, which has been having a tough time of late. He took over running the family business, then three stores, when he was 15 after his father passed away.

Another whingeing retailer?

Not exactly. While Carpetright's underlying sales tumbled by more than 7 per cent in its latest quarter, the retailer remains the market leader in the UK and is still forecast to make consensus profits of £28m this year. It has also benefited from the troubles of its rival, Allied Carpets.

He has a few bob in the bank?

You could say that. Lord Harris, or Phil to his mates, and his family are worth nearly £270m, although they donate 20 per cent of what they make to charity. Lord Harris and his wife keep showjumping horses and collect vintage cars.

They sound a good match.

In fact, he actually met his wife when his father suggested he took up horse riding – she was an instructor.

Given the family fortune, Phil must be good with numbers.

Funny you should mention it, as Lord Harris is dyslexic and has said: "I've never read a book." Maths is his strong point.

OK, so he's not one for reading in his rocking chair?

Too right. In fact, despite being 68, he still plays football with his children and grandchildren every Sunday. He was also a junior Wimbledon tennis player and is also on the board of Arsenal Football Club.

After the win over Man City last week, he's happy, then?

We reckon, but don't mention to him the falling sales in his shops.

I guess he can't blame Gordon Brown for any retail woes now?

Absolutely. In fact, he is mates with the Prime Minister, Dave Cameron, and in 2009, Lord Harris donated a whopping £250,000 to the Conservative Party, according to the Electoral Commission.