B&M boss targets south with plans to ‘disrupt’ convenience market

The chief executive of B&M has signalled that the group's assault on the convenience food market could see it expand into London as he pledged to shake up the sector.
The chief executive of B&M has signalled that the group's assault on the convenience food market could see it expand into London as he pledged to shake up the sector.
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The chief executive of discount retailer B&M has signalled that the group’s assault on the convenience food market could see it expand into London as he pledged to shake up the sector.

Fresh from B&M’s takeover of Yorkshire grocery store operator Heron Food Group last week, Simon Arora said that he sees the deal as an ‘opportunity to be a disruptor’.

“B&M sees itself as a disruptor, we’ve gone from 10 shops in Lancashire to a £2.4bn business with over 550 stores.

“We see the Heron deal as an opportunity to be a disruptor in the convenience store market.

“The major players don’t compete on price, so there is a place for a value player, especially now.”

Last week B&M, which is chaired by former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy and mainly sells general merchandise, splashed out £152m to take over Heron’s 251 stores, which are predominantly found in the North of England. Heron is headquartered in North Ferriby, East Yorkshire.

It plans to expand the business, initially through the addition of between 10 and 20 new stores per year, and Mr Arora said that they could even set up shop in London.

“Heron gives us the optionality to look at expanding into London in the convenience store market, in the longer term. We’re on a journey to go national,” he added.

Soaring inflation caused by the collapse of the Brexit-hit pound has pushed up the price of everyday items for hard-pressed shoppers and, in these conditions, Mr Arora believes a “value” offering can thrive.

While the B&M boss will focus on the convenience store market only, the wider supermarket sector has become increasingly crowded in recent years.