A newcomer to this year’s list, South African billionaire Christo Wiese has certainly made a big impression on the UK’s retail market over the last 12 months, shaking up the value end of the industry.
Wiese, who is executive director of African grocery group Shoprite, established Pepkor UK this year, to support his global retail investment group Pepkor in making acquisitions and investments on these shores. In January it was revealed that Wiese would launch a new value fashion chain called Pep&Co with former Asda chief executive Andy Bond. With a £20m investment and a lot of confidence, 50 high street shops opened during a six-week burst from mid-July and early indications are that the concept is proving a success with shoppers.
But not content with just one value chain, Wiese then set his sights on the UK’s second biggest fashion retailer New Look. His investment firm Brait acquired a 90% stake in New Look in May in a deal that valued the young fashion chain at £1.9bn. The deal was completed on June 25. With these two deals under his belt, there is little doubt that Wiese’s retail spending spree will continue apace into 2016.