ISN’T IT RICH?: For French President François Hollande, a Socialist who has vowed to extract more tax revenues from the rich, it must be an intoxicating read: On Thursday, business weekly Challenges released its annual ranking of the 500 biggest fortunes in France.

Once again, figures from fashion and retail figure prominently, with luxury titan Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, still ranked number one with a fortune estimated at 21.2 billion euros, or $25.99 billion at current exchange rates. Gérard Mulliez, whose family controls the retail conglomerate Auchan, remains comfortably lodged in second place with a fortune of 18 billion euros, or $22.06 billion.

This story first appeared in the July 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Dumas, Puech and Guerrand families, which control Hermès International, moved up one spot in the ranking to number three (17.4 billion euros, or $21.33 billion), while L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt slipped one notch to number four (15.3 billion euros, or $18.75 billion). François Pinault, whose family controls PPR, slipped one spot to sixth place (6.3 billion euros, or $7.72 billion), while Chanel owner Alain Wertheimer and his family held on to eighth position (5.6 billion euros, or $6.86 billion).

Other fashion types who made big leaps on the list include the Cassegrain family, owners of Longchamp (at number 55 with a fortune of 750 million euros, or $919.3 million), and Thierry Gillier, founder of Zadig & Voltaire, part of a four-way tie for 104th spot with a fortune of 420 million euros, or $514.8 million.

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