May 18, 2020
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Fashion figures are on Sunday Times Rich List but fortunes fall

May 18, 2020

The latest Sunday Times Rich List shows fashion continues to be a lucrative business for many of the nation’s super wealthy.

The wealth of Sir Philip and Lady Green, owners of Arcadia, fell by £20m to £930m - Topshop

But the annual survey, which estimates the minimum wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest people or families, reveals that tough market conditions have reduced retailers’ fortunes over the past year.

That’s the case of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of the Ineos chemicals group and classic motorcycle-clothing brand Belstaff, who saw his wealth shrink by £6bn to £12.15bn. This meant that he fell two spots to No. 5 on this year’s ranking.

The Weston family, owners of retail businesses including Primark and Selfridges, ranked 8th on the list after increasing their estimated wealth by £30m to £10.53bn. However, the figures do not take into account the severe impact of Covid-19 on Primark, which has seen sales plunge from £650m a month to zero.

Last year was a tough one for traditional retail chains, and that explains why there are more losers than winners in this year’s fashion list. Ray Kelvin, the founder of Ted Baker, crashed out of the Rich List altogether, while Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley fell one spot to No. 75 with his wealth down £27m year-on-year to £1.95bn.

Bernard Lewis, the owner of River Island, saw his wealth fall £334m during the year to £1.9bn, sliding from No. 64 to No. 77. Philip Day, CEO of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, came in at No. 132, with his personal wealth declining £60m to £1.14bn, and Sir Philip and Lady Green, who control Arcadia, ranked 154th after seeing £20m erased from their combined wealth to £930m.

Mark Fenwick and family, owners of the Fenwick department store; Nick Wheeler and Chrissie Rucker, owners of Charles Tyrwhitt; New Look founder Tom Singh and family; and Peter Simon, owner of Monsoon Accessorize also saw their estimated personal wealth reduced by millions of pounds.

Among the winners are Anders Povlsen (No.26), the owner of international fashion retailer Bestseller, who appears for the first time in the list with an estimated wealth of £4.73bn; and Stephen Rubin and family, whose earnings come from Pentland Group. The British businessman and members of his family are estimated to have grown their wealth by £1.23bn in the past year, totalling £4.23bn.

David and Victoria Beckham (rank 354) have an estimated wealth of £370m after a £15m increase, and Gymshark founder Ben Francis entered the Rich List for the first time this year with estimated wealth of £138m.

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