B&M closes 49 stores but awards staff 10% wage increase

Discount retail chain B&M has closed 49 of its stores due to current trading conditions.

At the same time, it has awarded a 10% enhancement to staff wages in gratitude for their efforts under the current exceptional trading conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic

The South Liverpool-based group said 42 of the 49 stores are close to larger B&M sites, while others are located within shopping centres that have largely ceased trading under current government restrictions.

The group said it will review the trading patterns on an ongoing basis and intends to re-open these stores as soon as normal shopping patterns resume.

Staff at the affected stores have been furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange today B&M said: “The rest of our store estate in the UK continues to trade in line with government guidance.

“The temporarily closed stores represent three per cent and two per cent of financial year 2020 revenue and store contribution EBITDA, respectively.”

In the UK, B&M traded from 656 stores and a further 293 of its Heron stores as at March 29, year-end.

All its Heron Foods stores continue to trade, although its 101 stores in France under the Babou and B&M fascias are currently closed under the government restrictions in force there.

B&M said: “We are grateful to our committed and hard-working colleagues for their remarkable effort and dedication in our stores and supply chain functions in helping customers at this very challenging time.

“To reward our store and distribution colleagues the UK business is now paying 10% enhancement to pay rates to reflect the additional workload that the guidelines impose.

“We have extended our B&M staff discount scheme to all NHS workers, and are donating £1m-worth of food and toiletries to food banks across the UK.”