After the death of his Father Josef Schwarz in 1977, he took control of the Schwarz & Lidl discount chain. Soon afterwards, he bought the naming rights from an unrelated person Ludwig Lidl, who was a former schoolteacher, in order to side-step a legal battle with the co-owner.
In 2009 he was estimated to be worth 10 billion euro. As of October 2012 he was estimated to be worth 12 billion euro and increase from 11.5 billion euro in 2011. As of October 2012, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Schwarz as the 29th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of US$20.2 billion. In 2013, he was estimated be worth €19.6 billion, and ranked the 24th richest person in the world. As of February 2014, he is ranked as 23rd richest person in the world in the Hurun Report Global Rich List.