B&M Bargains boss gives himself £30m bonus as Xmas sales soar

B&M Bargains boss gives himself £30million bonus due to soaring Christmas sales as retailer benefits from ‘essential’ lockdown status – two months after he got a £44m payout

  • B&M boss Simon Arora, 51, has handed himself a massive payout of £30million
  • Retail magnate and his family are the biggest shareholders of B&M Bargains
  • Discounter sales soared at Xmas due to its ‘essential’ status in Covid lockdown 

B&M Bargains’ billionaire chief executive has handed himself another massive payout of £30million due to soaring Christmas sales.

Retail magnate Simon Arora, 51, revealed a new special dividend of 20p-a-share would be handed out to shareholders.

Mr Arora and his family are the biggest shareholders in the business, meaning he will pay himself £30million just two months after funnelling £44million in dividends to his offshore family trust.  

Budget retailer B&M will also share some of the profits with staff, and has agreed to pay 30,000 workers an extra week’s wages.

The payouts come as the budget retailer saw a surge in sales during the second national lockdown and subsequent tier regime as the stores benefitted from their ‘essential’ retail status.

B&M boss Simon Arora (pictured with his wife Shalni Arora in Courchevel ski resort in France) has handed himself another massive payout of £30million due to soaring sales

Lockdown winner: Sales at B&M Bargains across the UK in the 13 weeks to December 26 soared 26.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis top £1.4billion

Sales at the FTSE 100 discounter across the UK in the 13 weeks to December 26 soared 26.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis top £1.4billion. 

B&M’s sales in the six months to September 26 jumped 25.3 per cent to £2.2billion, up from £1.7billion a year ago, and pre-tax profits soared 122.4 per cent to £235.6million. 

Shoppers have rushed to buy cheap products for DIY, gardening and their pets, as they increasingly look to discounters to help cut their spending as a double-dip recession looms.

The company opened 18 new stores and closed two during the period, creating 500 new jobs – meaning B&M now has 673 stores in the UK.

Cambridge-educated Mr Arora said: ‘Our trading performance is testament to the hard work and commitment of all our colleagues, to whom I express my sincere thanks.

‘The safety and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues has remained our priority during these unprecedented times, whilst we have worked hard to provide customers with the everyday essentials they need.

Simon Arora (left) with his brothers Robin and Bobby, and former PM David Cameron

It was reported in 2017 that Mr Arora owned several flats at 3-10 Grosvenor Crescent, a Grade II-listed terrace in London’s Belgravia district

Simon Arora: The budget retailer’s Cambridge-educated billionaire boss who once admitted he didn’t know what ‘B&M’ stood for (it’s ‘Billington & Mayman’, by the way)

Cambridge-educated law graduate Simon Arora bought B&M – then a small, loss-making chain of stores – in 2005 with his brother Bobby.

The brothers grew up in Sale, Manchester, after their father came to the UK from India in the late 1960s – reportedly with jusy £10 in his pocket.  

Together the Aroras turned the budget retailer into a discount giant, with hundreds of stores across the UK and Germany and surging ahead of its rivals on the FTSE 100 last year as it continued to operate under its ‘essential’ status. 

The Arora brothers have become multi-millionaires, with an estimated fortune of £2.1billion according to the Liverpool Echo.

Mr Arora, 51, once admitted that he did not know what ‘B&M’ stands for. In an interview with the McKinsey Alumni Center, he revealed: ‘Someone once told told me that it was obvious – it stands for ‘Bargains and More’.’

He added: ‘That’s good enough for me’.

A B&M spokesperson told MailOnline that the company name stands for ‘Billington & Mayman’ – after its founder Malcolm Billington. 

Mr Arora is married to Shalni Arora, a co-founder of bio-tech business DxS and support of the British Asian Trust. They have two daughters.

It was reported in 2017 that Mr Arora owned several flats at 3-10 Grosvenor Crescent, a Grade II-listed terrace in London’s Belgravia district.   

‘We are awarding some 30,000 store and distribution colleagues an extra week’s wages in recognition of their considerable efforts.’ 

He added that he remains confident that the business will remain strong in the coming year, despite continued uncertainty on the high street. 

‘Notwithstanding our status as an essential retailer, with lockdown restrictions in the UK having tightened there remain uncertainties ahead,’ he said.

‘With our combination of exceptional value and convenient out-of-town locations, we are confident that our business model will prove highly relevant to the needs of customers in 2021.’

B&M has raced ahead of its rivals thanks to its large out-of-town stores and the fact it has opened through the lockdowns. 

The company’s Heron Foods division also saw strong growth with sales up 7.6 per cent in the period to £102.9million.

But B&M’s French businesses – Babou and B&M France – struggled due to shutdowns in the country during November as part of a national lockdown.

Sales fell 1.4 per cent due to the four weeks of closure but were strong outside the lockdown period.

In November Mr Arora was forced to defend the first special dividend payout as it came at a time when B&M was benefitting from the business rates holiday announced by Rishi Sunak.

Since then, B&M – following moves from major supermarkets – agreed to hand over the £80million saved from the rates relief.

The company was bought in 2004 by Cambridge law graduate Simon Arora, and his two brothers, who turned the small loss-making chain into a £5billion giant with 1,000 stores. 

The family has also offloaded £910million of shares since they took the company public in 2014. 

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told City AM: ‘B&M’s European Value Retail shot out of the traps in the third quarter with a surge in revenue of more than a quarter in its UK stores. 

‘It wears the badge of an essential retailer as it also offers some groceries alongside its extensive household and general merchandise range, so has been able to keep its doors open throughout the winter lockdowns.

‘It’s likely it was able to attract last minute present buyers, whose options were severely limited elsewhere, when many more areas were placed into Tier 4 just before Christmas.’ 

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