Simon Arora, the CEO of B&M, is leaving after 18 years
When the pandemic broke out in Britain, Simon Arora, the billionaire owner and CEO of B&M, the discount chain that made its name as one of the country’s best-selling stores, is retiring.
The 52-year-old, who runs the business with co-owner Bobby and younger brother Robin, is to step down early next year after 18 years of running the chain.
Simon Arora, 50, and his brother Bobby, 50, bought the business from Phildrew Investments in late 2004 when it was a failing chain of 21 stores in the UK and France. They turned it into a retail empire with 1,100 stores in the UK and France. FTSE 100: It has a value of more than £5bn.
They sell everything from food to toys to DIY supplies to gardening tools. There are more than 600 stores in the UK and 500 more in France. The brothers are thought to be worth about £2.5bn.
Simon Arora wants to start planning for his retirement now that he has built a strong, entrepreneurial culture and a team of talented and experienced senior managers. The company said in a statement on Friday.
There were more shares sold in January by SSA Investments, the family office of the Arora brothers. They sold shares worth £234 million, having sold shares worth £214 million last year. When the business went public in 2014, it went on the London stock market. The family still owns 7% of the company.
The group trading director, Bobby, will stay on the board, but Robin will be a member of the board.
Simon has said that the family’s background is the “classic immigrant story.” His father moved to the UK from New Delhi in the 1960s with “£10 in his pocket.” He went on to start several businesses, and “what money he made he spent on educating his kids.” This is how the story goes:
Because of this, his sons were always excited when he talked with them about business and commerce. He also made us more ambitious and confident.
Simon went to Cambridge to study law, and in his early years, he worked for the management consulting firm McKinsey. The cash-and-carry business was Bobby’s first job after school.
B&M was their big break. Before they did that, the brothers who grew up in Sale, Manchester, had already had a good life. In the 1990s, they started a successful wholesale business called Orient Sourcing, which imported cheap home goods for high-street chains and sold it for £30 million.
B&M has been called one of the retail industry’s “pandemic winners.” During the crisis, its stores were given “essential” retailer status and were allowed to stay open through several lockdowns.
People like its low prices and out-of-town stores because they spend more than £4 billion a year there. As the cost of living crisis bites, it is expected to keep doing well.
People who own shares in the company were paid hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends when the company did well during a pandemic.
This means that when the oldest brother retires, he and his brother Bobby will no longer be able to work together for two decades.
This is what Simon says about their relationship: “One plus one equals 11.” This is a Punjabi saying that both of them believe in. In business, “Bobby has been with me every step of the way.” I think we both have been more successful because of that.
“We like to keep things simple,” Simon has said about the B&M method for success. “We sell well-known brands that our customers know; we buy directly from the manufacturer, so there’s no middleman, and we have good standards for selling things at the store.”
A new CEO will be found, and the company said on Friday that chair Peter Bamford would be in charge of the search. They would look at both internal and external candidates for the job. Shares fell 6% after the news, making B&M the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 on Friday morning.