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Hot 100 2012 – 10: Firesource

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The basics

Company name: Firesource
What they do: Budget retailers
Headquarters: Liverpool
The boss: The Arora brothers

The financials

Latest turnover (£,000): 549,108
Four-year compound sales growth (%): 62
Latest Ebitda (£,000): 43,415

The details

Woolworth’s went spectacularly bust in 2008, and pundits blamed the basic pile ‘em high formula. Well, how then does one explain the rise and rise of B&M, the brand operated by Firesource? 

B&M uses the same basic idea of stocking well known FMCG brands in large stores and charging rock bottom prices. The firm now has over 280 stores with 7,000 staff. 

One reason B&M is thriving is its purchasing tactic of hoovering up clearance sales by manufacturers. When a brand over-produces, B&M’s purchase managers rush round to snap up the surplus stock: 30 per cent of its wares are acquired this way. 

The entrepreneurial owners are worth getting to know. Brothers Simon and Bobby Arora bought B&M from private equity group Phildrew Ventures in 2005, when it had 21 stores. Younger brother Robin has since joined. The brothers love acquiring underperforming stores from other chains such as DIY Focus and Kwik Save, and converting them to B&M. 

The goal is 400 stores. Sales are £549m. Simon, who cut his teeth at McKinsey and 3i, says he’s not looking to exit any time soon. Why would he? And would it surprise you to learn his wife Shalni is also an entrepreneur, having sold her pharmaceutical business for £80m? An impressive clan.

The Hot 100 2012 is brought to you by Investec, Jordans, Cass Business School and Your Business Your Future.

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