Philip Green: “I do don’t do fair”

In a rare interview with Style magazine, Green talks candidly about life as a retail king and high street big shot.

On the imminent opening of Top Shop New York, he says: "It’s been the most complex shop opening of my career. New territory, 10,000 miles, rules and regulations, listed buildings, SoHo. We’ve had a flood, a fire, you name it. It would have been cheaper to knock it down."

Neverthless, the store is due to open – amidst confetti canons – later this week. And Green’s glamourous sidekick Kate Moss will be in attendance. The supermodel has been snapped as Green’s armcandy on numerous occasions, having designed her own line of fashionwear for the Top Shop chain. But how did this unlikely pairing of business brains come about?

"We passed each other in a restaurant ," he says. "Kate said we should do business. I said come and see me."

Despite their well-publicised partying, Green resolutely puts his business relationship with Moss first, friendship second: "If someting disturbed the relationship with the business, it would be a business issue," he says. "Our friendship would be parked to one side."

Green is a tough cookie. On the subject of his mooted tax evasion, he flatly denies all accusations, insisting that he fostered his businesses from Monaco. "When I went to Monaco in 1998, we were out of England, a clean sheet."

Tina Green lives there full-time now. However, the pair’s two children – Chloe and Brandon – shuffle back and forth. Chloe has no doubt that she and her brother will eventually take over their father’s empire: "He’s taken so many years to build up this business, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t want to continue it."

Far from being nepotistic about the issue, Green adds: "They have to find a niche."

There is a naughty side to the hard-nosed Green, however. He famously bought a kiss from Moss at a charity dinner for £60,000 and immediately passed it on to Jemima Khan. His boyish delight at watching two women kiss is matched by his threat to the Sunday Times journalist: should she publish anything he doesn’t like, "I’ll come round and smack your bottom," he threatens.

But pretty soon it’s back to business. As we speak, Green is sifting through hundreds of cuddly toys, picking the new Christmas range for BHS. "I’ll buy one, maybe two, and buy £250,000 of them," he says. Celebrity friends and cash to flash, maybe. But some days it’s dead dreary being the king of retail.

Related articlesArcadia and Bhs to mergeKate Moss is an entrepreneur?Sir Philip Green: the definitive profileAdvice from a Topman

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