Discount retailer joins FTSE 100 for first time

Retail group B&M is to enter the FTSE 100 after nearly doubling its share price since lockdown.

The Liverpool-headquartered business is now valued at £4.75bn, making it one of the UK’s most valuable public companies.

It has replaced broadcaster ITV, which has lost 60% of its value this year, accelerating a downward trend that stretches back over five years.

B&M Group is a discount retailer with 650 B&M and 275 Heron Foods stores in the UK and 90 Babou stores in France.

The first store, Billington & Mayman, opened in Cleveleys in 1978. The chain was acquired by brothers Simon and Bobby Arora in 2004 and the business grew quickly, taking over former Kwik Save and Woolworths sites and benefitting from a boom in the appeal of discount retailers.

The group floated in 2014, with a market value of £2.7bn. Although the market dip in the lead-up to lockdown pulled B&M’s value back down to that level, its shares have since soared to record levels.

It also increased its dividend last year and paid a 15p-a-share special dividend back in March.

Although there was only one change to the FTSE 100, there were nine companies promoted to the FTSE 250.

Mr Kipling manufacturer Premier Foods and technology group SDL are among the entrants, while shopping centre owner Hammerson and transport company Go-Ahead Group have been relegated.