Full-year profits set to surge at Liverpool retailer B&M

Based in Speke in south Liverpool, B&M operates 1,059 stores in the UK and France and says strong trading has continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. Tony McDonough reports

B&M, BandM, retail, store
B&M has seen strong trading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture by Tony McDonough


Full-year profits are set to surge at Liverpool-based retail giant B&M which has seen strong trading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

B&M operates 1,059 stores in the UK and France under the B&M (657 stores), Heron (299) and Babou (103) brands. In a treading update on Thursday it said it expected adjusted EBITDA, a measure of profitability, to be in the range of £590m to £620m for its full year to March 27.

This is higher than the £590m to £620m forecast it announced to the stock exchange in January and would be a significant rise on last year’s figure of £342.3m. The new figure is stated after the voluntary payment of business rates of around £80m.

B&M, which operates from its headquarters and main distribution centre in Speke in south Liverpool, is due to open a new store in Liverpool city centre next week. Located in the former Clas Ohlson unit in Clayton Square, the outlet will create 25 jobs.

As a seller of essential goods, B&M has enjoyed strong trading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in its outlets located in retail parks away from town centres. At the start of the crisis in March last year, it said its customers were stockpiling goods which will make comparison with March sales this year tricky.

Last year, B&M reported a 16.5% rise in annual sales to more than £3.8bn with pre-tax profits up to £252m from £244.3m the previous year. Today’s updated EBITDA forecast suggests this figures could see another big rise.

In its trading statement, B&M said: “Group sales will shortly annualise against the elevated sales, driven initially by consumer stockpiling in mid-March 2020, and which continued throughout full year due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

“This, together with the unknown impact of changes to restrictions in 2021, creates significant forecasting challenges which will persist well into the new financial year.

“The safety of the group’s colleagues and customers remains the key priority, whilst working hard to continue to meet customers’ needs. B&M also re-introduced the colleague discount for all NHS workers throughout January 2021.”

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