Julian Richer

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Julian Richer
Born1959 (age 61–62)
London, England
EducationClifton College
OccupationEntrepreneur, author
Known forFounder and MD of Richer Sounds[1][2]
Rosie Richer
(m. 1982)

Julian Richer LVO (born 1959) is an English retail entrepreneur, philanthropist and author,[3][4][5][6] best known as the founder and managing director of Richer Sounds, the UK's largest hi-fi retailer. Richer has gained a reputation for his motivational style of management and his philanthropic and charitable activities.[7]

According to the Sunday Times Rich List in 2019, Richer is worth £160 million.[8]

Early life[edit]

Richer was born in St Thomas' Hospital, London, in 1959. He was at UCS Junior School from 1968 to 1972 before becoming a boarder at Clifton College in Bristol between 1972 and 1977, thanks to a bequest from his grandfather.[9] His parents both worked for Marks & Spencer before going on to work for themselves. His father, Percy, later qualified as a solicitor when he was 50.[10]


Richer's business career started at the age of 14 while he was still at school at Clifton College, Bristol, and he opened his first shop near London Bridge aged 19. This store in south London holds the Guinness record for the highest sales per square foot of any retail outlet in the world.[11]

Richer in the past advised some organisations including Asda on staff motivation, customer service, cultural change, communications and suggestion schemes. In March 2018 Marks & Spencer announced that he was advising them on cultural change.[12][13][14][15]

He was made the youngest ever Business Communicator of the Year for 1995.[citation needed] He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Kingston University in January 2002 and by Bournemouth University in 2003.[16]

Richer was appointed as a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in 2007.[17]

In November 2013, Richer announced to the press that he would bequeath 100% of the firm to a trust co-owned by employees of the company.[18][19] In May 2019 Richer, then aged 60, announced that he had transferred ownership to employees by passing 60% of his shares to a trust,[20] as well as separately paying each employee, excluding directors,[21] a thank you bonus of £1,000[22] for every year of work from his own pocket to his 500+ employees who had worked an average of 8 years each (circa £4 million).[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

In 2019, Richer was awarded the 'Outstanding Contribution to Retail' award by Retail Week magazine.[36]

In 2020, What Hi-Fi?, the world’s #1 tech buyer’s guide, gave Richer their Outstanding Contribution award, stating “The man behind Richer Sounds, and much more, has made an undeniably positive mark on the UK hi-fi industry.” [37]

Charitable interests[edit]

15% of the profits from Richer Sounds are donated to charities whose main areas of support include human rights, fighting injustice and animal welfare.[38][39][40][41]

Richer founded ACTS435,[42] which was launched in December 2009 by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who remains a patron. [43] Acts435 connects people in need with people who can donate. Thirty thousand people have benefited from the charity (as of May 2021).[44] The charity allows people to give directly to those in need. This means that 100% of funds raised by Acts435 goes to the recipients. [45]

He founded the charity ASB Help in autumn 2013 which supports victims of anti-social behaviour. Baroness Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner, endorsed ASB Help soon after, commenting “I am delighted that ASB Help has launched this service to help equip victims in the fight against anti-social behaviour."[46] The charity’s website provides interactive guides, practical information and the necessary tools on how to effectively report anti-social behaviour. it helps in between two and five thousand people per week.[47]

He founded Richer Unsigned, a not-for-profit designed to promote the best undiscovered music the UK has to offer. Richer Unsigned supports and promotes musicians who may just be getting started, who have been in the industry a while or simply don't have a great label deal. It currently has over 3,000 artists featured on its website.

In 2018 he founded TaxWatch which launched in October, dedicated to the research and exposure of aggressive tax avoiding corporations.[48][49]TaxWatch has been cited by several newspapers, including The Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and many others as well as Parliament with regards to corporate tax avoidance, including high profile investigations into tech, media and retail companies. [50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58]It was also included in International Tax Review’s 2020-2021 Global Tax 50. International Tax Review’s Global Tax 50 is an annual list of “the most influential figures and events in fiscal policy over the past year.” The list also seeks to recognise “who and what will be particularly important” in the coming year. In their article about TaxWatch ITR noted, “TaxWatch has existed for just over two years but, in that time, it has made a big name for itself.” [59]

In November 2019 it was reported in the Sunday Telegraph[60] that he was launching and funding the Good Business Charter to encourage businesses to improve their behaviour, which was confirmed by Carolyn Fairbairn in a speech at the CBI's annual conference the following day.[61] It was launched on 3 February 2020.[62] A number of notable charities, businesses and public sector organisations have signed up, including Amnesty, Aviva, Brompton Bicycle, Capita, Confederation of British Industry, Deloitte, London City Airport, Oxfam, St. James's Place plc, Trades Union Congress, TSB Bank plc, and the University of York[63]

In January 2020, Richer launched Zero Hours Justice, a campaign designed to highlight the exploitative nature of zero hour contracts and ultimately, to seek a complete ban on them, when unilaterally imposed on workers.[64][65]It has also fought for humane working practices around zero hours contracts, such as advocating for staff to be put on furlough while on zero hours contracts.[66][67]It provides legal information and advice through a telephone helpline, email and website. Apart from that, this campaign also empowers people by circulating necessary information regarding zero hour contracts and promoting healthy working environments.[68][69]


Richer has written several books, including:

The Richer Way, which talks about starting a business and how to motivate a workforce by getting the best out of people. The Independent described it as "one of the best business books in history" [70] ISBN 978-0-9534415-2-5[71][72]

The Ethical Capitalist, which discusses the need for a new sense of moral purpose in business and how to make business work better for society.[73][74][75] This was a Financial Times book of the month.[76]ISBN 978-1-8479421-9-7

Personal life[edit]

Richer is married to Rosie, a fashion model.[77][78] They live near York in North Yorkshire, England.[10][78]

Richer was baptised into the Anglican faith in 2006 by The Rev Cannon Roger Simpson at St Michael Le Belfrey, York and was confirmed later the same year by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, in his chapel in Bishopthorpe Palace.[79]

In his spare time, Richer plays the drums in the soul/funk/pop group, Ten Millennia,[14] who have supported Shakin' Stevens, The Corrs,[80] Texas (band),[81] Tony Hadley and Jools Holland [on 13 occasions], including November 30th 2018 at The Albert Hall.[82][83]


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  2. ^ "Ethical Capitalist Julian Richer gave staff richer pickings". The Times. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ "'I did the right thing': Richer Sounds boss has no regrets". The Guardian. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  4. ^ Wood, Zoe (27 May 2018). "M&S boss turns to hi-fi entrepreneur to amp up profits". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Julian Richer – RSPCA". rspca.org.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Founder And MD Of Richer Sounds at Business School". Durham University. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Home". Oxfam. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  8. ^ Times, The Sunday (12 May 2019). "Rich List 2019: profiles 703–731=, featuring Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Brian May". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  9. ^ John L. Thompson (2001). Understanding Corporate Strategy. Cengage Learning EMEA. pp. 431–432. ISBN 1-86152-755-1. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b "UK: Ninety-five percent of this man's staff say they love working for him. What's his secret?". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Greatest sales per unit area annually". London: Guinness World Records. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  12. ^ "M&S hires Julian Richer to advise on workplace culture". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  13. ^ Wood, Zoe (22 March 2018). "Marks & Spencer recruits industry veteran to turn around food halls". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  14. ^ a b "M&S boss turns to hi-fi entrepreneur to amp up profits". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
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  16. ^ "Julian Richer's Honorary Doctorates". richersounds.com. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Richer, Julian". Who's Who 2019 & Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U32490. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  18. ^ Kunal, Dutta (19 November 2013). "'I lack a spoilt child to run the business': Hi-fi tycoon Julian Richer to leave company to his staff". The Independent. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  19. ^ Jonathan, Moules (19 November 2014). "Richer Sounds business to be bequeathed to employees". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
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  32. ^ "From rags to Richer". The Economist. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  33. ^ "When they go low, we go high (street)". 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Vanessa Feltz: Boycott and Retailers". BBC. 11 September 2019. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  35. ^ Portas, Mary (16 December 2019). "Work Like A Woman: Good Business with Julian Richer". Work Like A Woman. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  36. ^ "Retail Week Awards 2019: Julian Richer wins outstanding contribution". retail-week.com. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Outstanding Contribution 2020". Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Which? names Richer Sounds and Toolstation as UK's best-rated shops".
  39. ^ "Richer Sounds – The UK's Hi-Fi, Home Cinema & TV Specialists!". richersounds.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  40. ^ "The Persula Foundation". Funding For All. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  41. ^ "High fidelity: Julian Richer rewards staff loyalty with holiday homes". The Independent. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  42. ^ "For Julian Richer, poorer is better". Church Times. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  43. ^ "Archbishop of York's legacy of love and charity – The Yorkshire Post says". The Yorkshire Post. 26 April 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  44. ^ "Archbishops of York's charity reaches major milestone". The Yorkshire Press. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  45. ^ "Acts 435 How we work". Acts 435. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  46. ^ "About ASB Help". ASB Help. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  47. ^ "ASB Help". Help for Victims. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  48. ^ Wood, Zoe (27 May 2018). "Richer Sounds boss launches crusade to expose tax avoiders". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  49. ^ Kinder, Tabby (28 May 2018). "Richer Sounds boss puts tax avoiders on the record". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  50. ^ "Big Tech will pay less tax in the UK under G7 plan, says think-tank".
  51. ^ "Amazon could be a big winner of Rishi Sunak's investment tax break".
  52. ^ "Global G7 deal may let Amazon off the hook on tax, say experts".
  53. ^ "Critics question wisdom of 'the Amazon tax cut'".
  54. ^ "Sunak wants the City to be exempt from G7 tax raid".
  55. ^ "Eight of world's richest tech titans 'avoided £1.5billion UK tax in just one year'".
  56. ^ "Tech giants like Amazon and Facebook 'avoid £1.5bn in UK taxes'".
  57. ^ "Starbucks' European unit pays $183m to US owner despite dip in growth".
  58. ^ "TaxWatch cited in Parliament, 13 April 2021".
  59. ^ "TaxWatch included in International Tax Review's 2020-21 Global Tax 50".
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  61. ^ "A woke business gathering seems oddly in tune with Labour". The Economist. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  62. ^ "Richer Sounds founder's 10 corporate commandments for better behaved businesses". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  63. ^ "Good Business Charter Accredited Organisations". Good Business Charter. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  64. ^ "Julian Richer's sound intentions". The Times. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  65. ^ "Richer Sounds chief Julian Richer takes aim at zero-hour contracts". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  66. ^ "Rise in redundancies caused by Covid-19 'tip of iceberg'". The National. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  67. ^ "Museum's zero-hours staff celebrate furlough". News and Star. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  68. ^ Justice, Zero Hours. "Zero Hours Justice Celebrates Commitment to Real Living Wage". PRLog. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  69. ^ Solicitors, Thompsons. "Unions and Thompsons support 'Zero Hours Justice' campaign | Thompsons Trade Union Law". Thompsons Solicitors. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  70. ^ "High fidelity: Julian Richer rewards staff loyalty with holiday homes". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  71. ^ "The Richer Way". goodreads.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  72. ^ Timpson, John (12 September 2010). "John Timpson: why I rate Richer Sounds". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  73. ^ "The Ethical Capitalist". goodreads.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  74. ^ "10 steps to top-in-class employee engagement". managementtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  75. ^ "Julian Richer: Britain's biggest small businessman". New Statesman. 7 September 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  76. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 March 2019. Cite uses generic title (help)
  77. ^ "High fidelity: Julian Richer rewards staff loyalty with holiday homes". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  78. ^ a b "A vintage future". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  79. ^ "Julian Richer – what a Christian public leader". eauk.org. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  80. ^ "Ten Millennia - Live At Kew Gardens (Supporting The Corrs)". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  81. ^ "Supporting Texas". www.tenmillennia.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  82. ^ "Live at the Manchester Apollo". www.tenmillennia.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  83. ^ "Supporting Jools Holland 12-13th November". www.tenmillennia.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.

External links[edit]