How this UK discount retailer nearly beat Prada

Michael Bow
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(Source: Reuters)

A budget department store founded by a shopkeeper in Blackpool during the late 1970’s has today become the biggest retailer to come to the stock market since fashion house Prada three years ago.

According to fresh figures released this afternoon B&M Retail, which started life in the seaside resort in 1978, raised £1.1bn ($1.8bn) in London through an initial public offering (IPO).

B&M sold 4m shares at £2.70 each to investors this morning – the biggest retail flotation on earth since Prada raised $2.5bn in 2011. The deal is also notable for breaking a host of other records – it's the largest amount of cash ever raised on the London stock market in sterling by a retailer, topping both the flotations of Debenhams and Sports Direct.

In fact, it’s the biggest float in London all year, beating the £910m raised by property giants Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate, and the biggest IPO in London since Royal Mail last year, Dealogic data shows. IPOs have been woeful recently, with a spate of retailers sinking on their first day of trading casting a gloom over the sector.

No such problem with B&M. Shares have just closed at £2.85, a rise of 5.6 per cent and one of the best opening days for a new share listing since another budget retailer Poundland listed on the market.

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