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  1. ITV Report

'Del Boy' Dawson rockets up the Rich List

Chris Dawson from Plymouth has created a retail, property & manufacturing empire. Photo: ITV News West Country

When much of the retail sector is in the doldrums Plymouth businessman Chris Dawson is bucking the trend after increasing his personal fortune by £205 million this year according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Dawson, who left school unable to read and write to run a market stall in the Plymouth pannier market, is now worth an estimated £585 million.

'The Range' continues to expand while other retailers are closing stores. Credit: ITV News West Country

Home, leisure and garden chain 'the Range' which he created from scratch now has 75 stores across Britain. 11 opened last year with another 18 planned for 2013 creating 2000 new jobs.

'The Range' plans to open 18 new stores this year. Credit: ITV News West Country

"The Range is going from strength to strength and with more stores than ever planned we have a very busy year ahead!"

– Chris Dawson, owner & founder of 'the Range'

Dawson's retail success is all the more remarkable given the dire state of much of the sector. He's also diversified into property, manufacturing and shop fitting but is best known for creating 'the Range' and says its success is down to some old fashioned principles.

"Myself and all my staff know the importance of hard work and having a passion for what you are achieving and they show this on a daily basis. When I open a new store it is great to see the enthusiasm for the new jobs that are being created and having a positive effect on the whole community".

– Chris Dawson, owner & founder of 'the Range'
Dawson uses a helicopter to visit up to 10 stores a day. Credit: ITV News West Country

Dawson is known as a workaholic and expects employees to pull their weight. He's often seen helping out on the shop floor or directing traffic in the car park and thrives on his 'Del boy' image with a much cherished DE11 BOY numberplate. As the 153rd richest person in the country his retail formula seems to be working.