LONDON — The various fortunes of Britain’s wealthiest 1,000 families and individuals rose and fell like rollercoaster cars in 2018, with many fashion, retail, beauty and luxury magnates witnessing a spike in wealth, and others watching their net worth shrink, according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2019, an annual ranking of the wealthiest people in the U.K.
The newspaper called its latest list The Age of Uncertainty, and said the unstable political climate in Britain was taking its toll on entrepreneurs and investors alike: Many of the country’s wealthiest people have been moving their money — and families — out of the country because they’re worried that hard-left Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn — if he becomes prime minister — will turn Britain into a Marxist state.
Brexit seems to be the least of the super-wealthy’s worries, according to the newspaper, which based its estimates on information in the public domain. All figures were calculated until the end of March.
Sir Philip Green, the owner of Topshop and Topman, saw his net worth fall by more than 1 billion pounds to 950 million pounds. It’s been a challenging year for Green, who has also been accused of impropriety and sexual harassment, which he denies, and who is currently restructuring his struggling retail portfolio.
Pointing to the pension debt at Green’s retail empire, the store closures, and the ongoing restructuring, The Sunday Times said it now considers Green’s Arcadia retail group to be “worthless.”
Others who saw their fortunes fall include steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and family, owners of the world’s largest steel maker ArcelorMittal, who are now worth 10.67 billion pounds, 4 billion pounds less than in 2018. Mike Ashley, the acquisitive owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, witnessed a 461 million pound fall in his fortune to 1.98 billion pounds.
Christina Ong saw her family’s net worth dip by 150 million pounds to 1.05 billion pounds, due partly to a decline in her Mulberry shares. The brand was hit hard by the collapse of House of Fraser and its subsequent purchase by Ashley.
The embattled Ray Kelvin, who resigned from his company Ted Baker earlier this year following allegations of sexual harassment, which he denies, witnessed his net worth shrink by 213 million pounds to 309 million pounds.
Others were in the money: The net worth of the Weston family, whose holdings include companies as diverse as Selfridges and Primark, rose by 450 million pounds to 10.5 billion pounds, while that of Nicky Oppenheimer and family climbed 124 million pounds to 5.66 billion pounds. François-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek saw their joint fortune rise 1.71 billion pounds to 6.84 billion pounds.
Lord Bamford and family, including wife Carole Bamford, founder of Daylesford Organic, saw a 550 million pound increase in their net worth to 4.15 billion pounds, while jewelers Laurence and Francois Graff banked a 238 million pound increase in theirs to 4.01 billion pounds.
Sir Michael Moritz of the California-based Sequoia Capital, an early investor in Yahoo!, PayPal, and LinkedIn, and a current investor in Charlotte Tilbury’s beauty company, notched a rise of 37 million pounds to 3 billion pounds.
Lush Cosmetics founders Mark and Mo Constantine got 150 million pounds richer, for a total net worth of 440 million pounds over the past year on the back of rising sales and profits, and an aura of cool due to their longstanding, environmentally-friendly approach to products and packaging.
Dame Margaret and Helen Barbour and family, owners of the British outerwear brand, witnessed a 40 million pound rise in their net worth to 395 million pounds, while fellow clothing magnate Johnnie Boden and family saw a 5 million pound spike in their fortune to 380 million pounds due to increasing sales and profits at the brand, which started as a catalogue business and has recently expanded into brick-and-mortar.
David and Victoria Beckham were also among the risers, with a 15 million pound increase to 355 million pounds in their net worth. They are also among Britain’s top taxpayers. The money comes from David’s business interests and sponsorship deals, and the valuation of Victoria’s fashion house at 100 million pounds following investment by NEO Investment partners in late 2017.
Another power couple, Amal and George Clooney, saw their net worth soar by 10 million pounds to 270 million pounds, due chiefly to Clooney’s golden Hollywood pay checks, his multimillion dollar Nespresso campaigns and the recent sale of his tequila company, Casamigos to Diageo for $1 billion.
Dame Natalie Massenet was another winner, with a net worth that spiked by 15 million pounds to 150 million pounds thanks partly to her $20 million stake in Farfetch, which had a blockbuster initial public offering last September.
In a breakout list of the young rich, the model, actress and face of Tag Heuer watches Cara Delevingne watched her fortune climb by 5 million pounds to 22 million pounds. Rita Ora also made the list, with a net worth that grew by 2 million pounds to 18 million pounds, while grime musician Stormzy entered the Young Rich List for the first time, with net wealth of 16 million pounds.