Discount retail chain carries strong trading into new financial year

Simon Arora, B&M
Simon Arora

Discount retail chain carries strong trading into new financial year

Liverpool firm B&M made strong progress last year, which has continued into its first trading quarter of the new financial year.

Results for the year to March 30, revealed a 17.1% increase in revenues to £3.486bn, up from £2.976bn in 2018.

Group profit before tax increased by 8.7% to £249.4m for the 52 week period, compared with £229.3m.

It said it had made important progress in clearing out slow-moving inventory in both its German and French operations, with more work to be done to implement the direct sourcing model in those markets.

During the year the group opned a net 44 new B&M UK fascia stores, (54 gross) and at least a further 50 gross new stores are planned for this financial year, benefiting from plentiful availability of attractive new store opportunities.

A new 1m sq ft distribution centre is under construction in Bedford, to support UK store expansion needs for the foreseeable future, and is on schedule for a January 2020 commissioning.

The group is recommending a final dividend of 4.9p per share, up from 4.8p the previous year, bringing the full year dividend to 7.6p, which is a 5.7% increase.

Today’s statement said B&M has made a pleasing start to the first quarter of the new financial year, with mid-single digit like-for-like sales in B&M UK fascia stores.

Chief executive Simon Arora said: “B&M has again delivered strong results against the challenging backdrop of continued structural change in our industry, rising costs and uncertain times for consumers, demonstrating that its value credentials remain as resonant as ever with customers, whether they need a bargain or just enjoy one.

“We have made important progress in establishing platforms for further long term expansion in both Germany and France, although there is much work to be done to implement the disruptive, value-led B&M model in these large new markets.”

He added: “We enter the new financial year with renewed trading momentum, particularly in the UK, a high quality new store expansion programme in place, and investing in our new infrastructure to support future growth.

“I’m confident B&M is well-positioned to deliver further strong progress in the current year and beyond.”