Discounter B&M Sees Sales Falter Due To Tough Comparatives
B&M European Value Retail has reported a fall in underlying sales in its home UK market in its latest quarter, reflecting a tough comparison with the same period last year, which corresponded with he start of lockdown measures.
The discount retailer said like-for-like revenue at its B&M UK business fell 4.4% in the 13 weeks to June 26, its fiscal first quarter, compared growth of 24.5% in the second half of its 2020-21 year.
However, compared to the period to the first quarter two years ago, like-for-like revenue was up 21.3%, the company said.
The group had previously reported a 25.9% increase in full-year revenues.
'Strong Start' To The Year
"The group has made a strong start to the new financial year and sales remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels. As expected, trading throughout the first quarter was volatile as we annualised against the high comparatives from last year," commented Simon Arora, B&M chief executive.
"Although there remains much uncertainty as to how consumer spending evolves over the coming months, we remain optimistic that our combination of exceptional value across a wide range of product categories and our convenient out-of-town locations will continue to resonate with customers."
Volatile Trading Patterns
B&M said trading patterns were volatile throughout the 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.
It said overall group revenue rose 3.1% in the quarter. Revenue at its UK business came in at £1.02 billion, with Heron Foods contributing £101.7 million, and its Babou business reporting revenues of £68.5 million.
B&M said while it continued to be too early to 'accurately predict likely revenue and profitability' outcomes for 2021-22, the group was on track with its plans for the year and expected the two-year like-for-like measure in the core B&M UK business to remain strong.
Shares in B&M, up 16% so far this year, closed on Wednesday at 577 pence, valuing the business at £5.8 billion.