1 (3) TJ Morris

home bargains tj morris

Sales: £1,472.4m (+15%)

Pre-tax profits: £147.1m (+17.9%)

Stores: 393 (+10%)

First, second and third place in the Top 50 go to discounters this year as the value sector enjoys another year of bumper growth. After a steady climb up the rankings TJ Morris, which trades on the high street under the Home Bargains variety discounter fascia, takes the top spot for the first time.

TJ Morris wants to become the “leading sector retailer” in the UK and its last set of figures proves it is well on its way. Sales and pre-tax profits are both in double-digit growth and its 10% profit margin is considerably higher than anyone else in the table - for the second year in a row.

Operating profits were also up 18% to £146m. The business put the strong figures down to a combination of new stores, shop re-sitings and like-for-like growth from existing stores.

Founder Tom Morris, who started the business aged 21 in 1976 and remains MD and the majority shareholder, has grown the Liverpool-based operation organically into one of the biggest privately owned businesses in the UK, employing 13,843 staff, up from 11,098 in 2014.

Despite this rapid expansion, Home Bargains is still regarded as a regional North and Midlands-based player, but it has serious ambition to grow in the South. It says investing £70m in a one million sq ft warehouse near Salisbury will open up more routes to market in the South (it will also operate a staff training facility on the site).

And it continues to invest in the North, saying an additional warehouse in its Liverpool heartland (the business is based in Axis Business Park in Gilmoss) will support 400 new shops and create economies of scale to help keep prices down.

Low prices is the aim of the game for Home Bargains and the strapline ‘top brands - bottom prices’ applies to a host of familiar household brands including Heinz, Diet Coke, Persil and Cadbury, which are only set to expand as the retailer plans to “offer new retail opportunities to customers” and “continue to provide its customers with quality products at bargain prices”.

As for opening new retail sites, TJ Morris is on track to hit store number 420 in June. It has a target of 700 stores in the next five years, so will look to open at least 50 stores a year. It recently opened two stores on former Morrisons sites and has overtaken rival variety discounter Wilko not only in terms of size but store numbers and financial growth. Morris has also said it may explore overseas expansion.