City shopkeeper’s son turned billionaire by using his overdraft

The unassuming son of a Scotland Road shopkeeper is now one of the richest men in Britain and head of the multi-billion pound Home Bargains empire.

Back in 1976, 21-year-old Tom Morris, one of seven children, opened the first branch of what was then 'Home and Bargains' in Old Swan – reportedly using money from a bank overdraft to fund his fledgling business.

From initially boasting takings of £100 a week, the careful and "conservative" stewardship of Tom and his brothers has guided the brand to stratospheric heights.

It may have dropped the 'and', but Home Bargains now boasts more than 500 stores and employs 22,000 staff – with the Morris clan worth a reported £3.59billion.

Zilch - No Credit Check Finance

Tom found a niche by selling recognised brands at lower prices – and as word got round the customer based swelled.

From left, Joe Morris of Home Bargains, Francis O'Brien of Arrowcroft, Tom Morris of Home Bargains and Christopher Fox of Arrowcroft, pictured in 2001

Now 65, Tom is notoriously publicity shy, but his younger brother Joe, 60, operations director of the business, has given interviews in the past.

Joe once recalled how his brother: “Has a real sense of smell for the retail business. He knows what is going on.

“The key is good buying. He has an incredible reputation for it. If you get the buying right you can make money even if the stores are not perfect. You can have perfect stores but if you don’t have the product you will fail.”

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk

According to a profile in the Guardian last year, one of the secrets of the Morris's success is the fact the brand never over-reached itself and did not build up huge amounts of debt.

Joe Morris, brother of Home Bargains founder Tom Morris

The company owns many of its own stores and paid £49million in corporation tax in 2018, reportedly more than double that of Facebook.

In 2019, the chain made a bigger profit than London flagship store Harrods, boasting £184million after tax.

With the coronavirus pandemic plunging the global economy into crisis, very few businesses will feel totally secure.

But Home Bargains is in a far stronger position than many others to protect the jobs of its thousands of staff.

PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE ON NEWSWIRRAL.CO.UK