LONDON — The pickings have been rich for many over the past 12 months, but for some it hasn’t been such a hot year, according to The Sunday Times of London 2018 Rich List, the annual ranking of Britain’s 1,000 richest denizens.
Leaders in the fashion, retail and luxury worlds all saw ups and downs: Jim Ratcliffe, the chemicals tycoon and new owner of Belstaff, made it to the very top of the list for the first time, with a fortune of 21.05 billion pounds, 15.3 billion pounds more than last year.
Ratcliffe is the owner of Ineos, Britain’s largest privately owned company. Last year, Ineos purchased Belstaff from JAB Luxury, and Ratcliffe installed fashion veteran Helen Wright as chief executive officer. A man of many interests, he’s also developing an off-road vehicle similar to the Land Rover Defender, which is no longer in production.
The Weston family, whose businesses include Selfridges, Primark, Associated British Foods and Fortnum & Mason, were ranked at number nine, with a net worth of 10.05 billion pounds, while at number 26 were Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek, with a combined fortune of 5.13 billion pounds, up from 3.44 billion pounds last year.
Father-and-son diamond moguls Laurence and Francois Graff came in at number 34, with a net worth of 3.77 billion pounds, while the Bamford family, whose cash cow is construction equipment, was at number 35, with a fortune of 3.6 billion pounds. The family also owns the 2,000 acre Daylesford estate in Gloucestershire, and the Daylesford Organic food shops and cafés.
Pentland Brand owners Stephen Rubin and his family were ranked at number 49, with a fortune of 2.82 billion pounds while Mike Ashley, the controversial owner of Sports Direct and other clothing-related retailers, was number 58, with a fortune of 2.44 billion pounds.
Trailing Ashley at number 66 was Sir Philip Green, who had to write a 363 million pounds check last year to the BHS pension fund following a drawn-out battle in the wake of the high street retailer’s collapse. The owner of Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge, saw his fortune shrink to two billion pounds from 2.79 billion pounds in the previous year, due to tough times on the high street.
David and Victoria Beckham were ranked at number 372 with a joint net worth of 340 million pounds. The Sunday Times also pointed out that their eldest son Brooklyn Beckham has an estimated worth of 6.5 million pounds, both from his modelling career and his formidable Instagram following.
New to the list was Carol Kane, the co-chief executive officer of online fashion retailer Boohoo.com, with a fortune of 120 million pounds. Ranked at 942 on the list, the former fashion buyer will, by 2020, be presiding over an e-commerce empire with a projected one billion in sales.
While so many on the list have been building their fortunes, or watching them shrink, some have fallen off the list altogether, including Harvey Weinstein and his now ex-wife Georgina Chapman, whose wealth in 2017 was estimated at 195 million pounds.
Jamie and Jools Oliver, whose wealth last year was estimated at 150 million pounds, are no longer part of the ranking, due partly to financial troubles with Oliver’s restaurant chains.
In his introduction to the list, the compiler Robert Watts pointed out that in 2018, individuals needed wealth of 115 million pounds to break into the ranking, nearly four times the 30 million pounds necessary to appear in its first edition, which was published in 1989. To make the top 200 today, people would need 700 million pounds, a 23-fold increase on the 200th place 29 years ago.