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Salford, North West England
Harvey Jacobson (born 1956 in the City of Salford) is a businessman and entrepreneur based in the North West of England. He is the executive chairman of the Jacobson Group, an independent supplier of footwear in the UK, and owns over 75 shoe and clothing brands including Gola, Lotus, Ravel, Dunlop, Lonsdale, and Frank Wright. In addition to the Jacobson group, Jacobson also holds a range of personal business interests, ranging from property development to international trade distribution.
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Starting out in business
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On Jacobson's first visit to his father David's shoe shop as a six-year-old, he sold six pairs of shoes, earning a commission of 6 pennies. Aged 12, Jacobson begun working as a Saturday boy in the shop. At 15, Jacobson left school to work in the store full-time. In 1978 Jacobson took over the ownership of two stalls in Stafford and Manchester indoor markets and, not long after, the remaining units of the family business as his father moved into retirement. In 1979 he set up in business with brother Melvyn, taking over a small wholesaler in North Manchester, trading under the name D Jacobson & Sons. Soon after, the pair opened their first trade Cash and carry outlet in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, where the Jacobson Group headquarters still are today. With the business focused on distribution during this period, and Jacobson responsible for sales and marketing, the business saw significant growth throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, with the company moving from being a wholesaler to an importer-distributor, and expanding internationally during this period. By the early 1990s, the company’s turnover was in excess of £15 million.
Entry into brands
In 1996, Jacobson acquired Gola and the rights to Dunlop slippers. These were followed in subsequent years by brands including Lotus, Ravel, Frank Wright, Manfield and Trueform. The group also acquired a number of licenses, including the Lonsdale brand. At the same time as the company’s entry into branded footwear, the group also expanded its presence in the own-label contract supply market, securing business with a range of high-street retailers.[which?]
Today, the Jacobson Group has interests in different footwear and clothing businesses. The group annually supplies merchandise with a value in excess of £250 million and employs over 300 people across the UK at its premises in Rawtenstall, Oldham, Northampton &London. In addition to his role at the Jacobson group, Jacobson was an investor in North Shoe Ltd in the 1990s, seeing it grow from one retail outlet to 29 in five years. During the period of Jacobson’s involvement, the company grew by around 20 times. From 2002 to 2004 he was Chairman of the Original Factory Shop Ltd and today owns a number of individual properties in the UK, South America and Europe and has an interest in five property development schemes in the North West of England.[which?] In addition, he holds shareholdings in two trade distribution companies and two retail businesses. In 2007, Jacobson was named in the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time.(subscription required)