He's the richest Scouser to have ever lived but he's always shunned the limelight

Tom Morris (second from right) is the founder of Home Bargains.
Tom Morris (second from right) is the founder of Home Bargains. -Credit:Liverpool ECHO

Home Bargains is a Liverpool institution but little is known about the man behind it.

The discount chain began with one store - then called Home and Bargain - which opened in Old Swan in 1976. It was established by a then-21-year-old businessman called Tom Morris, the son of a Scotland Road shopkeeper.

The first store started with takings of less than £100 per week but the brand, which changed its name to Home Bargains in 1995, has grown into a retail empire with more than 500 shops across the UK. As his Gillmoss-based company has grown, Mr Morris has become the richest Liverpudlian to have ever lived, featuring on this week's Sunday Times rich list with a fortune of £6.673bn - a rise of £540m from last year.

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In this year's list, Tom Morris and family ranked 25th on the list and fourth in the North West. Unlike many of the people on the rich list, however, Mr Morris has always shunned the limelight.

It is his brother Joe Morris who is usually found speaking in public on the Home Bargains founder’s behalf. Of his brother, Joe once said: “(He) 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.”

It is hard to come by more information about Mr Morris. The one photo of him that the Liverpool ECHO has on file is the grainy 2001 picture at the top of this article. Second from right, he is pictured with his brother Joe (left) and two representatives from a company called Arrowcroft.

According to a 2001 Liverpool Daily Post article, Mr Morris worked 12 hour days and his other main business interest was the 60 Hope Street restaurant in Liverpool city centre, but this closed in 2020. The article added: "Business remains very much a family affair. As well as the three brothers, all now in their forties, there is another who has provided consultancy services while a sister has provided goods and services."

TJ Morris Ltd - the parent company of Home Bargains - continues to have many other business interests across Merseyside. Earlier this year it saved Baltic Triangle brewery Love Lane from closure and is teaming up with the builder of the Beetham Tower to construct a high rise development on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre.

Home Bargains also continues to go from strength to strength. Its latest accounts, for the year to June 30, 2023, showed its turnover rose from £3.4bn to £3.8bn - up more than 10% on 2022's figure. That meant pre-tax profits rose from £293m in 2022 to £332m in 2023.

In its latest report to Companies House, TJ Morris said turnover growth "was achieved by the opening of additional retail outlets during the year, shop re-sites and an increased contribution from existing stores."

It added: "The company intends to increase the number of retail outlets in operation in the year to 30 June 2024, and to eventually have between 800 and 1,000 retail outlets open."

Despite the monumental success of Home Bargains, little is known about Tom Morris - the man who turned an Old Swan discount store into an omnipresent force on British high streets.

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