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UK economy ‘needs more time to recover’: Philip Green

Arjun Kharpal, special to
Topshop's Green: Product is the key to sales
Topshop's Green: Product is the key to sales

The U.K. economy is "flattish" and needs more time to recover despite Britain's finance minister saying the economy is on the up, the retail tycoon Philip Green told CNBC on Monday.

"I would say (the economy is) sort of flattish. I think we're not at the bottom. I think it's getting better but we need time," Green, the CEO of the Arcadia Group, which owns fashion brands such as Topshop and Burton said.

The comments come after U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the economy is "turning a corner" in a speech last week, buoyed by figures showing that Britain's economy grew 0.7 percent in the second quarter of the year.

Topshop, one of the brands owned by Arcadia Group, has become a global name, marketed by celebrities such as Kate Moss.

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The company's London Fashion Week show took place on Sunday and was attended by U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Moss. The success of Topshop is seen as a sign that high street fashion can compete with big luxury brands for global appeal.

Green says Topshop's expansion policy is different from its competitors such as Zara and H&M.

"They've got a lot more stores than us combined, five times as many stores. We try not to open on every other corner. We try to be selective where we are going and we try to test markets first," he told CNBC.

Topshop is focusing on rolling out flagship stores and boutiques within big department stores which are a "win-win" for the shops involved, Green said.

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The fashion label rolled out a flagship store in Hong Kong in June as well as opening within department stores in Germany and the Netherlands. Topshop is continuing its expansion in the U.S. by pushing forward by opening sections within Seattle-based department store Nordstrom.

"I think we are being a bit more careful in how we grow," Green told CNBC. "From that point of view I am comfortable where we are. We haven't gone off into any market in a crazy way."

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal