Discount retailer B&M has forecast first-half profit well above market estimates on the back of stronger-than-expected margins at its UK stores.
Shares of the FTSE 100 firm rose about 4.4% to 564.6 pence, putting it at the top of the blue-chip index.
The company said it expects adjusted core profit for the 26 weeks ending 25 September to be between £275 million and £285 million, well above analysts' consensus estimate of about £235 million.
That, however, is below £295.6 million in the year-ago period marked by the pandemic.
The retailer, which sells everything from food to homewares, do-it-yourself and gardening products, however, cautioned that trading patterns and strength of customer demand remain highly uncertain for the rest of the fiscal year.
B&M in July reported a fall in quarterly underlying sales, reflecting a very tough comparison with the same period last year when shoppers stocked up for the first COVID-19 lockdown. The company said trading patterns were volatile throughout this quarter, with a pull-forward in gardening demand boosting revenue in the final two weeks of the 2020-21 year and early weeks of 2021-22, and also depressing the subsequent weeks.
The British discount retailer reported an 83% jump in annual core earnings in its previous financial year, having thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group, which also trades as Heron Foods in the UK and has a business in France, has performed well during the pandemic. Its stores were allowed to stay open through multiple UK lockdowns because they sell some food, and its low prices and out-of-town locations chimed with consumers.
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