B&M European Value Retail, the British discount retailer, has reported an 83% jump in annual core earnings, having thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
B&M's 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, helping revenue to jump 26% to £4.8 billion ($6.8 billion).
An 'Exceptional' Year
"The last year has been an exceptional one," chief executive Simon Arora said and added, "The core B&M UK business, as an essential retailer, traded throughout the year and welcomed a number of new shoppers, with colleagues working tirelessly to maintain on-shelf availability and provide a safe shopping environment. We also made strong progress in France, despite many stores being closed for up to ten weeks throughout the year."
The group, whose full name is B&M European Value Retail, said it had enjoyed very strong sales in the last month of its financial year, with the final week in its year to end of March being the strongest in its history, driving earnings growth.
It warned however that trading was volatile on a weekly basis, in particular since COVID restrictions started to ease, and it expects this to remain the case this year as it comes up against strong comparatives.
It said it was too early to predict revenue and profit and while group gross margin is likely to revert to more normalised levels it would work to keep its adjusted earnings margin higher than historical levels. Organic growth is likely to decline.
Arora stated, "Looking ahead, there are many uncertainties as society slowly emerges from lockdown and trading patterns are likely to be unpredictable for much of the year. Within our UK business, we will be up against the strong comparatives from last year but we remain confident that the B&M customer proposition, with its modern network of predominantly.
"Out of Town stores and value-led variety offer, will prove highly relevant to the needs of shoppers. As such, we are well positioned to support the communities in which we trade, retain the loyalty of new customers, and to continue our store roll-out
The FTSE 100 listed group, which sells everything from homewares and toys to electricals and food, said it made adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £626 million ($886 million) in the year to 27 March versus guidance of £590 - £620 million.