Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2014: No. 100 - Fran Cotton, Cotton Traders

The online clothing entrepreneur is worth £40m.

by Philip Beresford
Last Updated: 24 Oct 2014

A former England and Lions prop, Cotton won 31 caps, three as England captain. Cotton made his England debut in 1971 and won his last cap in 1981. Cotton is of course best known for the famous 'Mudman' picture of him caked in mud after a British Lions match in 1977. Ten years later he set up Cheshire-based Cotton Traders with Steve Smith, another former England rugby captain. The business started selling sports clothes but expanded into leisurewear. In 1996, fashion chain Next bought a third of the business and Cotton has just bought it back (for an undisclosed price). In 2012-13 its profits soared to £6.5m on sales of £80m.

Age: 67
Activity: Online clothing
Wealth: £40m
Latest turnover: £80m
Five-year rise in turnover: 25%
No. of employees: 1,091
Five-year rise in employment: 34%
Score: 261

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