32 LORD & MARTIN HAR­RIS

Essex Life - - RICHEST 50 -

Re­tail­ing

2018: £110m 2017: £110m (32nd=)

Lord Har­ris took over the fam­ily car­pet business at the age of 15 after his fa­ther’s death. He sold this business, which had be­come Har­ris Queensway, in 1988 net­ting £69m. But he is bet­ter known for Car­petright, which he founded soon after. When he stood down as chair­man of the Rain­ham-based business in 2014 after 57 years in the trade, Car­petright had more than 600 shops and an­nual sales of nearly half a bil­lion pounds. He net­ted share sales of at least £50m from Car­petright over the years. The Har­ris fam­ily is not listed as a ma­jor share­holder any more. In­deed Car­petright is strug­gling, with plans to close 92 stores and a £70.5m loss recorded for 2017-18. Its stock mar­ket value has fallen to £78m. Har­ris and his son Martin have now taken on Car­petright with a new ven­ture called Tapi (French for car­pets). It achieved over £30m sales in 2016. We still value Har­ris and his fam­ily at around £110m, although he would have been much richer but for his char­i­ta­ble work, which in­cludes the Har­ris Fed­er­a­tion of 44 school academies.

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