B&M ends year on a high after after “difficult” November

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B&M update
// UK like-for-likes down 1.6% across Q3, but Christmas like-for-likes up 1.2%
// Revenue up 12.1%
// Current quarter off to a good start and earnings on track to meet expectations

B&M endured a difficult November which impacted sales over its third quarter, but the discount retailer said trading bounced back in the key Christmas period.

The company – which also owns Heron Foods, Jawoll in Germany and Babou in France – reported a 12.1 per cent increase in revenue over the Christmas trading period as international sales growth offset a decline in the UK.

Total group revenue rose to £1.09 billion for the full third quarter period ending December 29, up from from £969.8 million the same period a year ago.

The chain reported a 1.6 per cent fall in UK like-for-like revenues over the period thanks to a “difficult” November.

This compared with a 3.9 per cent sales surge seen a year earlier and left year-to-date like-for-like UK sales 0.7 per cent lower.

However, B&M highlighted how UK like-for-likes increased 1.2 per cent in December, and improved trading has continued into January.

The retailer said it was “pleased” with trading over the crucial Christmas period and planned to open more stores, with 13 earmarked for the final quarter.

“Despite the broader economic uncertainty over the last quarter, B&M is on track to deliver a record year for both sales and earnings, representing our 14th consecutive year of profit growth,” chief executive Simon Arora said.

“The business’ ability to manage profitability through uncertain trading conditions is a testament to the resilience of the business model and the strong operational controls we have in place.

“We continue to open new stores and win market share when other retailers are retrenching.”

B&M said it remained on track for further earnings growth in the next financial year.

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