From Gerry Harvey’s empire to Culture Kings’ streetwear: Here are the retailers topping this year’s Rich List

rich list

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey. Source: Supplied.

Retailers are giving the usual mining and property suspects a run for their money, with 31 Aussies who made their fortunes in retail and manufacturing securing a spot on this year’s Rich List.

The Rich List, compiled yearly by The Australian Financial Review, features 200 of the most affluent Australians whose combined wealth is valued at $479.6 billion, up from $424 billion the previous year.

Among the top 100 are 14 retailers with fortunes valued between $7.86 billion and $1.22 billion.

Household names such as Alan Wilson made the list, with the executive chair of the plumbing and bathroom group Reece topping the category with $7.86 billion, ranking 11th out of 200.

Wealth more than $1 billion

John Gandel, founder of Gandel Group, which owns half of Chadstone mall in Melbourne and part-owns Chadstone’s co-owner Vicinity, ranked 13 with a fortune of $5.45 billion.

Unsurprisingly, Solomon Lew, chair of Premier Investments, ranked 23rd overall, with $4.27 billion, up 17.3% from the previous year.

Chair of Harvey Norman, Gerry Harvey and his partner Katie Page ranked 28th overall with wealth valued at $3.2 billion. The couple’s fortune soared a whopping 24.5% since the previous year, thanks to pandemic-induced demand for home products.

Ranked 53rd is Marc Benson, whose $2.05 billion fortune was first made in retail before he turned to commercial real estate. Benson’s history in retail includes owning lingerie shops started by his partner’s parents, which later became Sussan Group, now owned by his daughter and fellow rich lister Naomi Milgrom.

With wealth of $1.93 billion, Cotton On founder Nigel Austin ranks 57th. Austin’s business started at the Geelong markets where he sold denim jackets, and has now grown to include 1,300 stores operating in 19 countries.

Russell Withers, founder of 7-Eleven Australia and owner of Starbucks coffee Australia, has ranked 58 with $1.9 billion.

Retail pharmacy disrupters, Jack Gance and Mario Verrocchi, who co-founded My Chemist Retail Group, ranked 60th and 63rd with fortunes of $1.82 billion and $1.79 billion respectively.

Manny Stul, co-chief executive of Moose Toys, ranked 69th with wealth valued at $1.6 billion. Stul’s business has recently boomed after securing a contract to become the exclusive toy maker for the kids’ TV series Bluey.

Bill and Imelda Roche, founders of the direct-to-consumer beauty business Nutrimetics Australia, have secured 95 place. The couple have accrued a fortune of $1.22 billion in residential and commercial property after selling their beauty company to Sara Lee in 1997.

Fortunes less than $1 billion

Prominent retailers with less than $1 billion of wealth include Naomi Milgrom, owner of Sussan Group, which is home to brands like Suzanne Grae and Sportsgirl. After trying to sell her business to no avail last year, Milgrom managed to trade through the pandemic and rank 115th out of 200 with a fortune of $933 million.

Rod Duke, owner of Briscoe Group, ranked 124th with $869 million in wealth this year. The Adelaide native owns the major stake in a company that features the likes of Rebel Sport New Zealand and Kathmandu.

Tania Austin, owner of women’s fashion brand Decjuba, has entered the list for the first time at 153th place with wealth of $721 million. Austin’s fashion chain now boasts 140 stores in Australia and New Zealand.

Joanna Horgan and Peter Wetenhall, owners of the cosmetics-focused Mecca Brands, have ranked in the top 200 for the first time this year. Their wealth, valued at $658 million, is attributed to the success of more than 100 stores in Australia and China.

This year, Tah-nee and Simon Beard made their debut on the Rich List ranking 186th. The couple, who started streetwear brand Culture Kings in the Gold Coast, are the youngest Australians on the list with $626 million.

Neville Bertalli, owner of Patterson Cheney, a car and truck dealership, is back on the list after a year’s hiatus. His fortune is valued at $605 million, placing him at rank 191.

Richest manufacturers

Manufacturers ranked among the likes of Anthony Pratt of Visy feature Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Johnathan Munz and Raphael Geminder, ranked 18th, 62nd and 90th respectively.

Ranked 136th is Harry Stamoulis with a fortune of $790 million. Since selling Gold Medal Soft Drinks to Cadbury Schweppes in 2004, the Stamoulis family have focused on property development.

Kim McKendrick, former owner of the carpet manufacturer Godfrey Hirst, ranked 167th with wealth of $676 million. The McKendrick family have maintained a property portfolio in Victoria since selling their carpet business for $600 million in 2017.

Entrepreneurs still in the manufacturing game are Grant Petty and Douglas Clarke of Blackmagic Design. Petty and Clarke made their debut on the Rich List this year, ranking 199th and 200th with $592 million and $590 million of wealth respectively.

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