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Retail

Discount Operator B&M Posts 'Strong Start' To Financial Year

British discount retailer B&M European Value Retail has posted a 27.7% increase in group revenue in the first quarter of its financial year, to £1.15 billion (€1.27 billion) with its UK business growing by more than a third (33.7%).

The group said that like-for-like sales over the period from 29 March to 27 June were up 26.9%, compared to 3.9% for the corresponding period last year.

Challenges Ahead

Simon Arora, B&M chief executive, praised the group's performance, but added that challenges remain in what is still an uncertain environment.

"The Group has made a strong start to the financial year, with a particularly strong performance in our UK businesses, and progress now resumed in France after an 8-week closure period," he said.

"However, as outlined at our preliminary results for the last financial year announced on 11 June 2020, there are a great deal of uncertainties ahead. The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our priority whilst we work hard to continue to meet our customers' needs in these difficult times."

Performance Indicators

The group said that while like-for-like sales were slow during the first weeks of the quarter, this 'gradually recovered' over the period, while average transaction value has been at 'significantly elevated levels'.

The group also saw sales surge at Heron Foods, its convenience store chain, which posted a sales gain of 21.4% in the quarter to £113.0 million.

Elsewhere, Babou, its French business, posted a 25.7% decrease in revenue in the period, due to extended lockdown measures. B&M said that the business has seen 'positive LFL growth' since stores reopened on 11 May.

Looking ahead to the rest of the financial year, B&M said that it expects to open at least 30 net new stores, and for its Heron Foods business to open at least 15 net new stores.

'Against a highly uncertain economic backdrop and continued impacts from COVID-19, B&M is in a strong position to continue to grow profitably in the UK and work continues to develop and prove the proposition in France,' it said.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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