Simon Arora to step down from B&M

Brothers Simon and Bobby Arora took over Liverpool retailer B&M in 2005 when it had just 20 stores and have transformed it into a £5bn high street powerhouse – now Simon is to step down. Tony McDonough reports

Simon Arora, B&M, BandM
Simon Arora, chief executive of Liverpool retailer B&M


Simon Arora is to step down as chief executive and director of value retail giant B&M in 12 months, although his brother Bobby will remain with the business.

B&M began with a single store in Blackpool in 1976. It was operating 20 UK stores and was still Blackpool-based when the Aroras acquired it in 2005. At that point it had a turnover of £65m. Over the next 17 years they transformed the business.

They relocated it to a purpose-built headquarters and distribution centre at Estuary Business Park in Speke in south Liverpool with the help of grant and relocation costs from Liverpool City Council. Last year its turnover was just under £5bn and this year it is forecast its pre-tax profits will top £600m.

B&M operates 1,110 stores in the UK and France, employing 38,000 people. This includes 693 B&M stores and 310 outlets of Frozen food chain Heron in the UK and 107 stores in France. The French chain was formerly known as Babou but now all but one has been rebranded as B&M.

READ MORE: B&M to pay bonus to 24,000 staff

Before they bought B&M, the Arora brothers already ran a successful wholesale business. In 2012 private equity house Clayton Dubilier & Rice bought a 60% stake in the business and three years ago it was floated on the stock exchange with a value of £2.7bn. The Arora family retained a 15% stake.

In a statement to the stock exchange on Friday, B&M said: “Having firmly established a strong, entrepreneurial culture and built a talented and experienced senior management team, Simon wishes to plan for retirement. Bobby Arora, group trading director, intends to remain with the business in his current role.


B&M, BandM, retail, store
The Arora brothers have turned B&M into a retail powerhouse. Picture by Tony McDonough


“Over the coming year, Simon will remain fully committed to the business in his role as chief executive, in particular to assist in a smooth transition to his successor. A succession process, led by chairman Peter Bamford, will consider both internal and external candidates and a further announcement will be made when appropriate.”

Simon Arora said: “It has been a privilege to lead B&M for 17 years and I am immensely proud of the incredible journey that we have been on. B&M’s value for money proposition remains as relevant and compelling to shoppers today as it has ever been.

“I would like to thank all 38,000 members of the B&M family for their hard work and commitment both now and as we continue our expansion.”

B&M’s main rival in the value retail market is TJ Morris, which trades as Home Bargains and is also based in LIverpool. It has a large distribution centre in the north of the city. Earlier this month it reported annual sales of £3.2bn.

Peter Bamford, chairman of B&M, added: “On behalf of the board and all stakeholders of the group, I would like to thank Simon for his leadership over the past 17 years. The remarkable growth of the business from its humble beginnings to where it is today reflects his exceptional passion, determination and ability.

“Moreover, he has established a firm foundation from which the group will continue to deliver its successful growth strategy and great value for its customers. We are all very grateful for his tireless efforts and he will leave us next year with our best wishes for the future.”

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