Persson is the largest shareholder in Hennes & Mauritz, Europe's second-biggest clothing retailer. The company was founded by his father, Erling, in 1947. Today it operates about 2,500 stores in 43 countries with a staff of 94,000 employees. The company reported sales of more than $16 billion for the financial year ended Nov. 30, 2011.
Bloomberg Markets’ inaugural list of the world’s richest people showcases the billionaires who pull the levers on the global economy. Their net worth totals $2.7 trillion, about the size of the gross domestic product of France, the fifth-biggest economy on the planet.
Hennes & Mauritz AB Chief Executive Officer Karl-Johan Persson sees China overtaking Germany as the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer’s largest market as the company opens stores there at a faster pace than anywhere else.
Amancio Ortega, the world’s third- richest man, widened his lead over billionaire fast-fashion rivals Stefan Persson and Tadashi Yanai last week, as strong performance from his Inditex SA gave further rise to a fortune that has risen more than 57 percent since the March 2012 debut of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
In 2003, Luis Amaral bought Eurocash SA, a Warsaw-based grocery business, for 120 million Polish zlotys ($30 million). The operation was losing money. Competitors were taking market share. Its owner, Jeronimo Martins SGPS SA, the Lisbon-based retail operation controlled by billionaire Alexandre Soares Dos Santos, wanted nothing to do with it.
Inside Inditex SA’s concrete-and- glass headquarters in the Spanish town of Arteixo, a lithe woman slips into a dress that a seamstress working amid buzzing sewing machines stitched together just minutes earlier. A half circle of designers -- looking like models themselves -- nod approval.
The 20 wealthiest people on Earth lost a combined $9.1 billion this week as renewed concerns that Europe’s debt crisis might worsen drove the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its largest decline of 2012.