B&M reports fall in first quarter sales

First quarter sales fall to £1.16bn at Liverpool value retailer B&M as the company begins its online home delivery pilot. Tony McDonough reports

Head office of value retailer B&M in Speke, Liverpool


Value retailer B&M is reporting a fall in sales for the first quarter of its fiscal year.

In a trading update to the stock exchange South Liverpool-based B&M said sales for the 13 weeks from March 27 2022 to June 25 were £1.16bn. This is lower than the £1.19bn reported for the same period in 2021.

However, during the period last year the UK was still seeing COVID restrictions. This, says the company contributed to “exceptionally high sales” in April 2021. Therefore, B&M added, the comparatives have a “distorting nature”.

Breaking down the overall sales further, B&M says April 2022 was 19% down on April 2021. However, during the subsequent eight-week trading period covering May and June revenues were down just 1.6%.

B&M operates 1,125 stores in the UK and France, employing more than 38,000 people. This includes 705 B&M stores and 311 outlets of Frozen food chain Heron in the UK and 109 stores in France. The French chain was formerly known as Babou but now all but one has been rebranded as B&M.

In the B&M UK outlets sales fell from £1.02bn to £957m during the quarter. However, Heron saw sales rise from £102m last year to £113m this year. The French stores also saw a rise from £68m to £91m.

There was no change to its full-year guidance published on May 31. The group expects EBITDA (an alternative measure of profitability) to be in the range of £550m to £600m.

In the last few days B&M has launched an online home delivery service for the first time. Around 1,000 products are now available. These include sofas, kitchen appliances and garden furniture

All items applicable for home delivery are marked with an orange van logo. Delivery is calculated based on the size of the order, with small orders at £3.95, medium orders at  £7.95 and large orders at £14.95.

In the company’s annual report, outgoing chief executive Simon Arora said he was “open minded” about the long-term potential of the trial. He added a “test and learn” approach will be adopted over the coming months.

He explained: “The B&M website has not historically been transactional, instead acting as a footfall driver into stores and a channel through which to engage with an online community of customers,” he said.

“This trial will ultimately extend across circa 1,000 SKUs (products) representing in part bulkier or higher ticket general merchandise items, which customers cannot always easily transport home from stores themselves.”

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