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Discount Retailer B&M Sees Profit Double On Strong Sales During Pandemic

B&M, the British discount retailer, has reported a 95% rise in first-half core earnings as its low prices and out-of-town stores chimed with consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 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 £295.6 million (€330.8 million) in the six months to September 26, up from £151.4 million in the same period last year.

The group said revenue increased 25.3% to £2.24 billion.

Like-for-like sales at B&M UK, whose stores were allowed to stay open through lockdowns because they sell some food, rose 23%.

The group said UK's sales growth was expected to moderate over the second half, but so far had been at a similar level to the first half.

B&M has expanded rapidly. It plans 40-50 B&M UK gross openings in the full 2020-21 year, offset by 10 closures.

Shares in the group, up 49% over the last year, closed Wednesday at 501.4 pence, valuing the business at £5 billion – that's more than the market capitalisation of Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket group by sales.

'Strong Performance'

"The group delivered a strong performance in the first half, with our business model proving well-attuned to the evolving needs of customers," commented Simon Arora, chief executive. "Our combination of everyday value across a broad range of product categories and convenient Out of Town locations has proved popular with shoppers.

"During such challenging times, we have been proud to play an active role in supporting the communities in which we operate, having created over 1,800 new jobs across the group during the past six months in addition to repaying the £3.7 million furlough support originally received during the height of the crisis."

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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