On Monday morning, French fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault was named the world’s richest individual, with a net worth of $186.3 billion, placing him $300 million ahead of Jeff Bezos, who is worth $186 billion, and Elon Musk, who is worth $147.3 billion.
Thanks to a pandemic-defying success by his luxury company LVMH (Louis Vuitton Mot Hennessy), Arnault’s fortune has jumped from $76 billion in March 2020 to $186.3 billion on Monday, a dramatic increase of over $110 billion in the last 14 months.
LVMH, which also owns Fendi, Christian Dior, and Givenchy, rose 0.4 percent in early trading on Monday, placing its market cap at $320 billion and raising Arnault’s personal stake by more than $600 million.
During the lockdown, LVMH and Arnault represented the unprecedented growth of Europe’s luxury and fashion houses.
According to Jefferies analyst Flavio Cereda, LVMH earned $17 billion in the first quarter of 2021, up 32% from the same timeframe in 2020, thanks to the “momentum” of Chinese shoppers.
The net worth of rival François Pinault, whose Kering Group owns luxury brands Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Gucci, increased from $27 billion to $55.1 billion between March 18, 2020, and Monday. Brothers work at Chanel (which is not publicly traded).
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