B&M sales surge amid lockdown

B&M has revealed it enjoyed a “strong” end to its fourth quarter trading, with like-for-like revenues up 6.6% in the quarter ended 28 March.

The value retailer said that this result was driven by an “exceptionally” strong March performance in its grocery sector. 

The group also reported a “strong” revenue growth in the first eight weeks of the new financial year, with like-for-like revenues up 22.7% in the period. 

According to the retailer, this recent growth was driven by “exceptionally” strong sales across its DIY and gardening categories, despite a “significant fall” in customer counts amid the nationwide lockdown. 

If the DIY and gardening categories were to be excluded, like-for-like revenues over the same eight week period would only see a rise of 10.3%.

The revenue growth across DIY and gardening represents a “significant pull-forward” of demand, according to the retailer, who attributed the rise to recent warm weather and customers being at home during lockdown. 

Nonetheless, the B&M UK business also said it was experiencing “higher than normal” operating costs across its distribution and stores, largely due to the application of social distancing measures and the payment of premium wage rates during the peak of the virus. 

Simon Arora, CEO of B&M, said: “We have encountered exceptionally strong demand in our UK business over recent weeks. Customers have been coming to our stores much less frequently through the lockdown but their average spend has been much higher than normal. 

“B&M is doing its bit in terms of keeping our customers supplied with the things they need week-in, week-out during this period of enormous disruption to the normal operation of the business.” 

He added: “We have seen a significant bring-forward of demand in some key categories and the remarkably warm spring weather in the UK has been a major factor behind this during recent weeks. 

“We are not expecting this current level of trading to continue as normal shopping patterns resume. Clearly, there is also considerable uncertainty in relation to both the progression of Covid-19 and the economic outlook and it is therefore hard to predict future trading levels.”

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