Home Business British retail mogul takes a 30% loss on his London mansion

British retail mogul takes a 30% loss on his London mansion

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British retail mogul takes a 30% loss on his London mansion

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A British billionaire has sold his London mansion at a loss of about 30%, the latest example of weak demand forcing steep discounts in the city’s property market.

Bobby Arora, trading director of budget retailer B&M European Value Retail SA, sold a townhouse in the exclusive Belgravia district for £23.5 million ($30 million) in November, according to a government database. The property — nestled between Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace — was bought by Arora for £34 million about a decade ago, another filing showed.

A representative for Arora declined to comment.

London’s richest home sellers have been resorting to price reductions to secure deals as real estate valuations in high-end postcodes have tumbled from their peak reached about a decade ago. They have also faced weaker sentiment driven partly by higher interest rates and the prospect of tougher taxes on the rich.

A South African developer sold a housing site in Kensington — a neighboring district — for about £80 million at the end of last year, a discount of roughly £30 million from the price paid in 2017. In the city’s most affluent areas, sales fell about a third in November from the same period a year earlier, according to researcher LonRes. 

Still, the high-end property market in the UK capital has remained relatively strong even as global central banks have tightened policy. In 2023, some wealthy overseas buyers spent more than £100 million on properties in London, with Belgravia making up 10% of all £5 million-plus deals, according to broker Savills Plc.

The Arora family is worth about $3.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with less than 10% of that tied to B&M shares. Eight years after buying B&M in 2004, the Aroras sold a 60% stake to US private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice for about £575 million. 

Bobby Arora was handed a bonus worth up to £16 million last summer to secure his commitment at B&M until at least March 2026. The company’s stock has largely recovered from a slump endured in 2022 when a cost-of-living squeeze sapped demand for big-ticket items such as beds and hot tubs.

The Belgravia property, which was part of a project to transform a set of townhouses into luxury apartments, was one of the most expensive housing transactions in London last year. Only a handful of homes were sold for more than £20 million in the capital, including a luxury apartment — snapped up by venture capital maven Solina Chau — a short walk from Arora’s former home.

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