close
Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora
Discount stores
Rank 2017
65=
Worth
£1,920m
Rise/fall
-


B&M, the discount store chain built up by Manchester’s Arora brothers, has had a rollercoaster ride on the stock market over the past year, particularly since the Brexit vote. The group enjoyed a strong final quarter of 2016, opening 14 new stores and seeing sales rising 20.5% on the same period the year before.
   The chain now has more than 530 stores in the UK, with another 73 in Germany, rising to a £2.97bn valuation since its float in 2014 at £2.7bn. Former Manchester Grammar School boy Simon Arora, 47, manages the business with his brothers Bobby, 45, and Robin, 32, but they can also call on a wise chairman – former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy. After a spell working as an analyst and investment executive in London at McKinsey, Barclays Bank and 3i, Simon returned to the northwest and went into business with Bobby, who he describes as a "born trader".
   In 1995 the siblings formed Orient Sourcing Services, which designed, sourced and distributed homewares and soft furnishings for customers including Tesco, Argos and BHS. They sold the business for £30m in 2000 and five years later took over struggling B&M.
   The pair, joined by younger brother Robin, sold a 60% stake in the Liverpool-based operation to an American private equity group in late 2012, which valued it at £965m. Since then the siblings have sold about £680m of shares, including a £204m sale in July 2015 to diversify their investment portfolio. The family has a holding valued at £620.2m, plus dividends and other assets such as property in the UK and Far East.