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Eulogy to ‘legend of retailing’ Phil Green

Phil Green, who is known for his substantial contribution to building the housewares business at Robert Dyas from 2008 to 2013, passed away last week (July 13), suddenly at his home in Norfolk. Besides his business acumen and cheerful disposition, he is remembered for his integrity, openness and mentoring skills.

Having been instrumental at developing business at Woolworths in the 1990s, Phil continued to work in the toy industry before joining Robert Days as commercial director in 2008. He became chief operating officer at the housewares and hardware chain before leaving in November 2013 to start Connexions, his own sourcing and supply chain consultancy for international retail.

Paying tribute, sales director at Ultimate Products, Eddie Edwards describes Phil as a “legend of retailing, whose integrity and honesty were held in very high esteem by our industry.”

Eddie reflects: “Starting at Ultimate Products in 2008, I got in touch with Phil Green when reading that he had joined Robert Dyas as commercial director. He gave me an appointment, visited our showroom, and we soon started trading. By 2010, we had gone from not supplying Robert Dyas at all to being its number one supplier. It was Phil who gave me the opportunity to build our strong working partnership that continues today with the current Robert Dyas management team. Phil was a true gentleman and it was always a pleasure to deal with him.

“He was also a family man who was devoted to his wife Rosemary, who sadly died last year of cancer, and his two sons. Phil had a great sense of fun and enjoyed life – we still kept in touch after he left Robert Dyas– and was also very fit, doing long walks as charity fundraisers.

“Simon (Ultimate Products’ ceo) and I and the whole team at Ultimate Products were very shocked and saddened to hear of Phil’s death and send our deepest sympathy to his sons. We only have fond memories of Phil and all that he stood for. When the opportunity arises, we will all raise a glass in his honour.”

Paul McDermott, who was Robert Dyas’ head of trading from 2008 to 2017, also reflects on Phil’s life and contribution to the housewares industry. Paul acknowledges: “During our time together at Robert Dyas, I always found Phil calm and considerate, despite day to day pressures from within the business.

“He adjusted well from his years in the toy trade and picked up the housewares industry very quickly. Phil was very instrumental in bringing a toy and gift business, utilising his old product skills to Robert Dyas. You could always talk to Phil about the business; he was a good listener and would support you in your decision-making.“Phil was highly respected amongst the commercial team plus many other areas of the business. He was good at mentoring the junior buyers and some of them remain as senior team members today.

“Phil introduced a very successful Far East business on his arrival using his wealth of experience and that strategy thrives today. He will be missed by many throughout the toy and housewares industries for his business acumen and the many great social occasions particularly with his involvement in raising money for the Fence Club children’s charity.  RIP Phil.”

In a feature in Progressive Housewares in August 2009, Phil – who was on the Excellence in Housewares Product Judging Panel at the time – was asked what he thought the housewares industry should celebrate. He aptly said: “People will always need housewares,” as well as highlighting the “strong supplier base in the Far East and emerging supplier base in India,” and the many graduate designers keen to work in housewares.


Top: Phil Green pictured in July 2009, judging The Excellence in Housewares Awards.

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