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Billionaire boss of B&M Value Simon Arora to retire after 17-years in charge

·2-min read
Outgoing B&M boss Simon Arora (Mark Waugh Manchester Press Photography Ltd)
Outgoing B&M boss Simon Arora (Mark Waugh Manchester Press Photography Ltd)

The billionaire boss of low cost retailer B&M Value Retail is stepping down after 17 years in charge.

The company said Simon Arora, 52, will leave in 12 months once a successor is found.

B&M said Arora was leaving to plan for his retirement. He said it had been a “privilege” to lead the business and he was “immensely proud of the incredible journey that we have been on.”

Brother Bobby Arora will remain as trading director of the business.

B&M chairman Peter Bamford said: “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.“

Arora and brother Bobby acquired the Liverpool-based chain in 2004 and have grown it from 21 stores to 1,100.

Along the way, the Aroras have taken the company into FTSE 100 and amassed a family fortune estimated to be worth £2.5 billion. The Arora family sold a £234 million stake in B&M in January but still own around 7% of the business, which listed on the London stock market in 2014 and currently has a market value of around £5 billion. Last year the family received a £30 million payout from the company as part of a £200 million dividend reaped from a boom in sales during the pandemic.

B&M, which sells everything from frozen food to homeware, made sales of £4.8 billion last year, up 25% on 2020, and a pre-tax profit of £525 million.

As well as dividends, Simon Arora has earned almost £9.5 million in pay, bonus and benefits since 2015.

The company’s success has drawn scrutiny of its tax arrangements, with B&M domiciled in low tax Luxembourg.

Bamford will lead the hunt for Arora’s successor, looking at both internal and external candidates.

B&M shares dropped over 5% on news of Arora’s departure, not helped by retail sales data that was much worse than expected.

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “As the cost of living crisis starts to bite, Simon Arora has chosen an interesting time to step down as CEO of B&M.”

B&M shares peaked in December 2021 but are now around a fifth below the all-time high amid mounting concerns about a consumer spending slowdown in the UK.

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