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BRITAIN’S RICH PAGEANT: Galen and George Weston and their families, whose holdings include Selfridges, Holt Renfrew and Associated British Foods, are the richest fashion figures and the 10th richest family in Britain, according to the Sunday Times of London Rich List 2012, which was published over the weekend.
The Weston families’ combined fortune is 5.9 billion pounds, or $9.62 billion at current exchange, and outstrips that of Sir Philip and Lady Green, who are the 17th richest people in the country, with a fortune of 3.3 billion pounds, or $5.38 billion. The newspaper reported that the Greens’ fortune took a 900 million pound, or $1.47 billion, hit over the past year due to a double-digit drop in profits at their Arcadia retail group, parent of Topshop and Topman.
The Greens share their number 17 ranking with father-and-son diamond moguls Laurence and François Graff, whose net worth is also estimated at 3.3 billion pounds. Their wealth is set to soar later this year when the company, famous for its canary yellow stones, floats on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
It was a big year for Lawrence Stroll, who rocketed upwards on the list to number 48, with a 1.1 billion pounds, or $1.79 billion, spike in his net worth. The fashion baron’s fortune is estimated to be 1.4 billion pounds, or $2.28 billion, with a large chunk of that coming from the float of the Michael Kors business on the New York Stock Exchange in December.
The annual Rich List is based on the Sunday Times’ estimates of individuals’ minimum wealth from land, property, art and shares in public and private companies. The paper said it does not include money in bank accounts, to which it has no access, or small shareholdings in private equity portfolios.
Other notable figures from the fashion and luxury world on this year’s list include the famously discreet Christina Ong and her family. They are Mulberry’s shareholders of reference and have a string of franchise deals with labels including Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan, in addition to the luxury Como hotel company. They rank at number 61 with a fortune estimated to be 1.21 billion pounds, or $1.97 billion.
Karl-Johan and Thomas Persson, whose family owns Hennes & Mauritz, rank at number 112, with a fortune of 700 million pounds, or $1.14 billion, followed by Leon Max of Max Studio, who ranks at 219 with an estimated net worth of 400 million pounds, or $652 million. Peter Williams, co-founder and majority shareholder in Jack Wills, comes in at number 370, with an estimated worth of 200 million pounds, or $326 million.
One of Britain’s wealthiest couples, David and Victoria Beckham, are ranked at number 395, with a combined net worth of 190 million pounds, or $309.7 million, and the Sunday Times estimates that the latter’s fashion label is worth 30 million pounds, or $48.9 million.