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Japan’s richest man doubles fortune with some help from Federer

Uniqlo’s stock was dragged down two years ago when it reported slower sales growth. It has since made a comeback, helped by steady expansion in overseas markets and endorsements deals with tennis star Roger Federer and golfer Adam Scott.

Updated: Sep 07, 2018 21:36:35

By Venus Feng

Yanai, 69, is the chairman of Fast Retailing, the world’s second-largest apparel maker by market value behind Zara. (Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

Unlike China, where vast fortunes can be made and lost overnight, it usually takes Japanese billionaires much longer to recover losses.

Tadashi Yanai, founder of Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing Co., has bucked the trend after the firm’s shares surged more than 75 percent over the past year. His wealth has almost doubled since April 2016 to $25.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Yanai, 69, is the chairman of Fast Retailing, the world’s second-largest apparel maker by market value behind Zara. The company’s stock was dragged down two years ago when it reported slower sales growth. It has since made a comeback, helped by steady expansion in overseas markets and endorsements deals with tennis star Roger Federer and golfer Adam Scott. That’s made Yanai $4.8 billion richer this year, pushing him to 30th worldwide on the Bloomberg index.

Yanai’s rise contrasts to the fortunes of other billionaire shareholders in fast-fashion businesses, which face growing competition from online rivals as consumers feel more comfortable receiving clothes at home.



Amancio Ortega, 82, the Spanish founder of Zara-owner Inditex SA, has seen his wealth drop by more than 13 percent this year to $65.4 billion, including a $3.5 billion fall on Wednesday, according to the index.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 21:36:35

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