Christo Wiese
Retailing, Property
Rank 2017
Launched in 2015 with a £20m investment, budget fashion retailer Pep & Co opened 50 stores in as many days and plans up to 100 more in branches of Poundland. South African retail mogul Christo Wiese, 75, owns both chains. In 2015 his investment vehicle Brait snapped up the New Look fashion chain for £780m from Tom Singh (qv) and Sir Richard Branson's (qv) 80% stake in Virgin Active gyms for £682m. It also paid Lord Kirkham (qv) £172m to raise its 19% holding in Malcolm Walker's (qv) frozen food giant Iceland to 57%. Cape Town-based Wiese also has UK shopping centres, offices and industrial properties. In his homeland he is the largest shareholder in cut-price supermarket chain Shoprite.