A FAMOUS chain of stores which began life in the resort 36 years ago has been taken over in a deal worth £945m.
US firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has purchased B&M Bargains from the Arora brothers, who moved the company’s head office to Liverpool from Blackpool last year.
In recent years, the company has moved away from its regional identity to tackle the national market and, with the takeover now complete, the Aroras, who will stay at the helm, are looking to expand their business on a global scale.
A statement from the Arora family said: “B&M still has six stores in Blackpool and is proud of its Fylde coast roots.
“The founders, Malcolm and Pauline Billington had great vision in creating such a popular retail format.
“CD&R has very relevant retail sector experience and a strong track record of working in partnership with management teams to successfully grow businesses across different territories.”
The New York-based private equity firm has not revealed plans about the future of its Blackpool business, which consists of a warehouse on Squires Gate Lane, South Shore.
John Boughton, the Unite union officer for B&M Bargains, says he hopes the new investors will not forget the company’s roots.
He said: “Unite hopes this investment means jobs for people in Blackpool.
“I hope Blackpool remains in B&M Bargains’ thoughts so we can protect existing jobs and grow some new ones.
“When the Arora family was moving at break neck speed to go to Liverpool they didn’t have Blackpool in their long term plans, so I would hope this company offers protection.
“It would be great to see them come back here, but the head office is now in Liverpool.”
Dean O’Carroll, from Blackpool, lost his job when the head office moved, but now works at the Squires Gate Lane site.
He said: “This will open up new job opportunities to people who want to work for the company.
“It’s good news for Blackpool as well because if there’s more jobs and people in work then it’s great.
“Every time I go to work there are more people starting and this company wouldn’t have invested if they didn’t think it would work.”