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Simon Arora to quit as head of B&M Bargains after 17 years

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The chief executive of B&M Bargains is to quit the retailer after 17 years.

Simon Arora said he will step down in 12 months to allow time to find his replacement and enable a smooth transition.

The 52-year-old said he intends to retire but will help chairman Peter Bamford look for a new chief executive.

During his time running B&M, which he bought with his brother Bobby in 2004, the businessman has turned the discount retailer into a FTSE 100 giant, with 1,100 stores across the UK and France.

During his tenure as chief executive, he has faced criticism for basing the business in Luxembourg, where corporate tax rates are lower than in the UK.

He also announced that B&M would repay business rates relief and furlough cash received during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite remaining open throughout due to its classification as an “essential” retailer.

The money was not paid back until after B&M paid out huge dividends to shareholders, including his family trust, which received a total of £100 million.

The Aroras offloaded 40 million shares in B&M earlier this year, reducing their holding from almost 11% to just under 7%.

Their stake in the business, controlled via the SSA Investments vehicle, is worth £385 million based on the current share price.

Bobby Arora intends to stay working for the business, the company added.

Chairman Mr Bamford said of Simon Arora: “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.”

A search is now under way with internal and external candidates set to be considered, B&M said.

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.”

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