Thursday 23 May 2019 9:14 am

B&M to open 50 UK stores this year despite retail doom and gloom

Discount retailer B&M said today it plans to open 50 shops this year, despite the wider gloom in the UK retail sector.

B&M grew revenue 17 per cent to £3.4bn and profit before tax 8.7 per cent to £249.4m in the 52 weeks to 30 March.

The company said it opened 44 new stores in the financial year and planned to open 50 more this year.

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It recommended a final dividend of 4.9p, up from 4.8p last year, taking its full-year dividend to 7.6p per share, an increase of 5.7 per cent on 2018.

The company has expanded to France and Germany in recent years with mixed results.

In Germany B&M posted an Ebitda loss of £10m while in France it delivered a £5.5m profit.

Chief executive Simon Arora said the retailer’s formula was “not yet proven in Germany and France", but said he hoped the company had made “significant strides” towards its objectives there in recent months.

The company said the first quarter has started well with mid-single digit like-for-like growth in B&M UK stores.

Arora said: "B&M has again delivered strong results against the challenging backdrop of continued structural change in our industry, rising costs and uncertain times for consumers, demonstrating that its value credentials remain as resonant as ever with customers, whether they need a bargain or just enjoy one.

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“We enter the new financial year with renewed trading momentum particularly in the UK, a high quality new store expansion programme in place, and investing in our new infrastructure to support future growth. I'm confident B&M is well-positioned to deliver further strong progress in the current year and beyond."

Analysts at Liberum said: “Today’s results are a slight mixed bag. We continue to like the long-term story, but there are clearly issues to overcome and international, particularly Germany, needs to show signs of improvement to give greater confidence that B&M’s proposition will resonate and the management can make it work outside the UK.”

UBS analysts said: “A return to form for B&M UK but Germany still seems to be lagging.”

Shares fell 2.6 per cent to 370p.