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The Retail 100 – the definitive annual index celebrating the sector’s most influential individuals driving people, purpose and profits – returns for 2023.

Notably, there is a sea change in strategies, investment priorities and management styles. UK retail bosses have had to make smart and often tough decisions against inflationary pressures and the cost-of-living crisis to maintain customer demand and manage their bottom lines.

There is a 47% increase in names recognised among the Strategists compared with 2022. From chair Andy Higginson and chief executive Régis Schultz leading a new dawn at JD Sports, to the impressive turnarounds overseen by Darcy Willson-Rymer and Will Crumbie at Card Factory and Fat Face respectively, the industry is not standing still.

Equally, as consumer spend becomes harder to win, CX has risen up the agenda with 20 leaders celebrated for their work as the Experience Innovators. This includes Primark chief executive Paul Marchant as he bridges the omnichannel divide and takes on the US and George at Asda managing director Liz Evans who is bringing inclusive fashion to consumers with aplomb.

Sustainability remains of paramount importance and there are fresh faces making it easier for chiefs to achieve their ESG targets. New appearances for 2023 among the Sustainability Activists include Hurr Collective chief executive and founder Victoria Prew and Thrift+ founder and chief executive Joe Metcalfe – the growth of their businesses is helping to make second-hand fashion a reality.

“The people celebrated in the Retail 100 are changing the industry as we know it”

The Retail 100 is also evidence that people – whether employees or consumers – are firmly at the forefront. Wickes chief executive David Wood and Currys Paula Coughlan are celebrated for a second consecutive year, Wood for heavily investing in his team and Coughlan for taking bold action following what she calls a post-pandemic “staff wake-up call”. Consumer champion Martin Lewis makes his first appearance, following his rallying cries to policymakers and industry to act on issues from tariffs to takeaways.

Retail increasingly demands a different kind of leader, one that is more collaborative – and we have witnessed this over the past 12 months with an increase in strategic partnerships. This includes Asda owners the Issa brothers seeking new tie-ups to increase market share, and Halfords chief Graham Stapleton overseeing a major acquisition to take the business to new heights.

The makeup of retail leadership is changing too. With 44 new entries in 2023 – the highest number of new faces in the Retail 100’s history – the index is more diverse than it has ever been. There is more that needs to be done to make the industry more representative, however, as reflected by the 27 female leaders recognised – and this needs to extend to racial equality too, but it is positive to see signs that the sector continues to move in the right direction.

Without a doubt, the people celebrated in the Retail 100 are changing the industry as we know it. We hope you will join us in recognising their collective efforts.

Infographic for Retail 100 2023


Decided by Retail Week’s team of esteemed journalists, incorporating research from March to August 2023, the Retail 100 was decided based on the retail leaders making the biggest inroads across the following six categories.

All profile information correct as of September 8, 2023.

The Retail 100: A to Z

View the list below and click through to read their profiles or use the category tabs above to view the Retail 100 leaders by their category.

The Retail 100 was produced by

Megan Dunsby

Megan Dunsby

Senior commercial content editor and report lead

George MacDonald

George MacDonald

Executive editor

Hugh Radojev

Ellis Hawthorne

Features editor

Alban Bizet

Hugh Radojev

News editor

Rachel Horner

Alban Bizet

Senior designer

Emily Kearns

Production editor

Lisa Byfield-Green

Beth Bloomfield

Senior analyst

George MacDonald

Lisa Byfield-Green

Research director

Simon Mooney

Simon Mooney

Head of marketing

The Retail 100 is independent editorial content produced by Retail Week and decided by Retail Week’s team of journalists. It has not been shown to sponsors prior to publication for approval.

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