Fashion
2015: No.19 - £175m
2014: No.23 - £140m

Studley-born James Holder’s SuperGroup fashion retailer – the company he founded with Julian Dunkerton and Theo Karpathios in 2003 - is worth well over £1.3 billion.

After a big drop in share price in 2012, the Chelthenham-based fashion chain is seeing encouraging growth in its online businesses. The company has pushed its sales up to £431 million for 2013-14 compared to £360.4 million the previous year.

The group, which owns the Superdry brand, increased its profits to £61.5m compared to £51.9 in 2012-13. Results from the first half of the current year show a further increase at the pre-tax level, largely because the impact of one-off charges the previous year. However, a warm autumn and early winter has taken its toll of the autumn/winter fashion range, so underlying profits for the first half of the year to October are down by 32 per cent. New chief executive Euan Sutherland, who joined the company from the Co-operative Group in October, is reviewing operations to reverse the decline.

The company upset its investors and suffered a self-inflicted drop in share price in the summer of 2012. For a while it had a torrid time in the markets after putting out a profits warning which resulted in a 38 per cent drop in share price.

As it turned out, the warnings were over-pessimistic and profits and revenue for that year were actually up on the previous year.

The group is looking to expand further in Europe and is working with Clipper Logistics to operate its 500,000 sq ft distribution centre in Burton-on-Trent. UK expansion continues. In May, Superdry opened its first Nottingham outlet – a 6,000 sq ft unit in the city’s Victoria Centre – on a ten-year lease.

James Holder began his career in fashion 24 years ago when he sold T-shirts from the back of his mother’s car at BMX events.

Now, a bankruptcy, a marriage and a couple of companies later, he runs the uber-cool Brit fashion label Superdry which is sold in more than 100 countries, with its worldwide growth directed from its Superdry International store in Regent Street.

Brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, 42 year-old James Holder went to college in Leamington Spa. While he was there he began designing T-shirts and founded the BMX and skateboarder label Bench. He teamed up with Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of Cult Clothing who is still his business partner, and they set about marketing their designs. They ordered 2,000 of each garment from their Walsall manufacturers and took them to potential outlets. Barrie Suddons, o wner of Bristol-based Westworld Stores , liked what he saw and the brand was assured.

Eventually, he signed away his shares in Bench and was declared bankrupt in 1998. But he carried on designing and founded Superdry 11 years ago. The firm’s designs became huge hits when David Beckham was seen wearing them on his 2005 calendar. Other celebrities followed suit including Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and now Superdry is the favoured streetwear label of the stars. Singer Pixie Lott is a devoted fan.

In March 2010 Superdry’s parent company SuperGroup floated for £395 million, netting James Holder £18.8 million. The share price tripled almost immediately. His stake in the business is valued at £168 million.

The label’s big sellers, besides its graphic T-shirts, include windcheaters, gilets and lumberjack shirts. James Holder is rarely pictured wearing anything else other than his own brand. For one the brand’s recent ranges, Superdry teamed up with Timothy Everest MBE, classically trained tailor to the stars who has dressed government ministers, Hollywood legends and pop superstars.

James Holder now lives in the Cotswolds with his wife Jessica, son Noah and an Aston Martin DBS .