A little over a month since Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates trounced Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person, the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) chairman and CEO has reclaimed the spot as the top dog. This comes as Amazon’s stock climbed to a two-month high as holiday shoppers started opening their wallets.
Bezos is now worth $113 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bill Gates is in second position with a net worth of $111 billion.
Prior to being toppled by Gates, Bezos had been the world’s richest person since 2018. At one point, the gap between him and Gates was so large it looked insurmountable. His divorce earlier this year, however, saw his stake in Amazon fall from around 17% to about 12%.
Gates’ run as the world’s second-richest person is also under threat from French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of luxury goods giant LVMH.
Bezos, whose wealth is mostly concentrated in Amazon, largely owes the world’s richest title to the stock’s recent upward trend. On the day before Thanksgiving, Amazon closed at $1,818. That’s a gain of around 7% from the six-month low recorded in late October. The stock had been hovering below the $1,800 level in the past few weeks. The upward trend that started late last week coincided with Amazon launching Black Friday deals on Nov. 22.
The stock could rise further, making Jeff Bezos even richer,ahead of a lucrative holiday shopping season. So far this month, online sales in the U.S. have increased by 15.8% year-on-year, giving investors more reason to be bullish. Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 26, U.S. consumers have spent $50.1 billion shopping online.
According to Adobe Analytics, online spending in 2019 is expected to increase by 14.1% this year to hit $143.7 billion.
In anticipation of heightened activity, Amazon is ramping up its holiday hiring plans. Per the Associated Press, the online retail giant plans to recruit 200,000 workers for the holiday season.
Last year Amazon hired 100,000 people in preparing for the busy holiday shopping period. So far, Amazon has outpaced other retailers in its hiring strategy. Big box retailer Target, for instance, plans to recruit 130,000 seasonal workers of which only 8,000 will exclusively serve online shoppers.
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Last modified: January 11, 2020 2:31 PM UTC