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I’m no Mr Selfridge, but the loss of my wife marks a new chapter for me

The Telegraph Monday, January 25th 2016 01:01 AM
Shop keepers: Jeremy Piven, Frances O'Connor Selfridge and Katherine Kelly in the ITV period drama Mr Selfridge

Q: Would a TV series called Mr Timpson be as dramatic as the series Mr Selfridge?

A: Any company lasting 150 years (my great-grandfather opened his first shop in 1865) has plenty of stories to tell. But I fear, if you are looking for a sub-plot scattered with socialising and sexual indiscretion, you are bound to be a bit disappointed.

Selfridges and Timpson both built their success on being close to colleagues and customers. Harry Selfridge was often seen walking round his store and five generations of Mr Timpson have done the same.

Both Timpson and Selfridges had dramatic boardroom bust-ups. I was there when my father was ousted as chairman by six votes to two. Having lost control, we offered our stake to Bernard Lyons, chairman of United Drapery Stores, who won a takeover battle against Charles Clore of Sears Holdings.

After two years running the UDS subsidiary Swears and Wells, I returned to Timpson as managing director, replacing the uncle who had led the coup against my father.

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