Poon sets example for Businessman of the Year | South China Morning Post
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  • Apr 13, 2015
  • Updated: 1:20am

Poon sets example for Businessman of the Year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 September, 1998, 12:00am
 

Dickson Poon's debut in the retail business was with a watch and jewellery store in The Landmark in 1980 financed by a $5 million loan from his father.


Nearly 20 years later, he controls more than 300 retail operations in Asia, Britain, continental Europe and the Middle East and represents prestigious names from Ralph Lauren to Rolex watches.


However, Mr Poon has never lost sight of the early days as he struggled to make his first shop profitable.


'I would say the most satisfying moment was when our first Dickson Watch and Jewellery shop became a success,' he says.


After building a foundation in Hong Kong, he embarked on a series of international acquisitions, starting in 1987 with S.T. Dupont. Over the past decade, he has achieved recognition for turning around the fortunes for some of the most prestigious brand names in fashion.


In 1991, he took over the upmarket London department store Harvey Nichols at a time when the store was running a GBP1.4 million (about HK$18.24 million) loss. By 1996, when Mr Poon arranged the flotation of the Harvey Nichols Group, the store made a GBP9.1 million profit.


He has achieved a similar success since taking over Seibu (Hong Kong) in 1996, lifting it from break-even to profits, despite two difficult years in retailing.


Mr Poon says the secret of his success has been to put together what he believes is 'the best management team in the business'.


Mr Poon's management talents and those of his team are being fully tested at present amid the recession. A small number of his shops have been closed, but Mr Poon says there was never any 'fat' in the company.


'We haven't made any redundancies as such,' he says.


'It has been a year of great challenges, but also a year with a lot of exceptional opportunities. I consider it was a great honour to have won The Businessman of the Year Award, but it is a reflection of the efforts that everyone at Dickson Concepts has put in, not just one person.'

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