Sir John Moores; Billionaire Founder of Retail Chain
Sir John Moores, 97, billionaire owner of Littlewoods, largest private company in Great Britain. A bricklayer’s son who started working at the age of 14 as a post office messenger, Moores amassed a personal fortune estimated by Britain’s Money magazine at $2.25 billion, making him one of England’s richest men. In 1924, Moores started Littlewoods Pools, a soccer betting operation that he named for an aunt to avoid losing his day job because of moonlighting. He expanded to mail-order shopping in 1932 and four years later launched his chain of Littlewoods stores. The chain now has more than 100 stores and 30,000 employees. In a rare 1986 interview, he said he had relied heavily on Montgomery Ward and Sears for advice: “I learned a lot from America and I admire the Americans.” He founded the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition in 1957 to promote young painters, and in 1980 was knighted for his service to art. On Saturday in Formby, England.