Retail entrepreneur Philip Green this week argued that he can make his proposed acquisition of Safeway work ­ but many others in the retail industry remain unconvinced.
Green believes his success with non-food at Bhs and Arcadia combined with his understanding of the supply chain gives him the experience needed to run Safeway.
"The people who are succeeding are those selling non-food.
"We've seen Asda and Tesco get growth out of non-food but I don't think it's been fully exploited by these chains."
He scoffed at suggestions that selling food was more complicated than clothing: "It can't be any more difficult to sell an apple than a skirt." He added: "If you understand the supply chain then there is money to be made so if the opportunity is available at the right price, we will be there."
However, Paul Smiddy, analyst at Robert W Baird, gave Green little chance of success: "There are no synergies so he can't rationalise the supply chain and close the head office."
Former head of Somerfield and current chairman of Littlewoods, David Simons, was also sceptical of Green's bid: "He'll put more non-food in, but it's a bridge too far for him."

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