Retail giant selects new chief executive after it ‘sustained the step up’ from the pandemic

Discount retailer B&M failed to quite match its stellar performance through the pandemic but has “sustained the step up” it benefitted from.

It has reported annual sales of £4.67bn for the year to March, which is down 3% on last year but up 23% on two years ago. The FTSE 100 group’s pre-tax profits were flat, at £525m.

Alex Russo

The Liverpool-based retailer has also revealed its chief financial officer, Alex Russo, has been chosen to succeed Simon Arora as chief executive.

Arora, who has led the business for 17 years, had previously announced his intention to step down next April.

Russo joined the retailer in October 2020, having held senior finance roles at Tesco, Asda and Wilko.

B&M’s chairman Peter Bamford said: “Since joining the group, Alex has made a very positive contribution to the business. He has demonstrated strong leadership skills and a deep appreciation of the B&M culture and business model, making him the outstanding candidate for the role.”

Russo will receive a base salary of £800,000 with an annual bonus of up to £1.6m, alongside a long-term incentive plan also worth up to £1.6m.

B&M’s outgoing chief executive Simon Arora is confident that the retailer is in a good position to benefit from the challenging economy.

He said: “The retail industry is facing inflationary pressures whilst our customers are having to cope with a significant increase in the cost of living, making spending behaviour in the year ahead difficult to predict.

“However, we have seen before that during such times customers will increasingly seek out value for money, and B&M is ideally placed to serve those needs. As such, we are well positioned to support the communities in which we trade and continue our long-term growth strategy.”