Belfast Telegraph

B&M sees full-year profits soar by 18%

Discount retailer B&M has reported soaring full-year profits and is ramping up expansion plans as it prepares to cash in on a slowing economy and a squeeze in consumer spending.

The group said that pre-tax profit rose 18% to £182.9 million in the year to March 25, while revenue rocketed 19% to £2.4 billion.

Like-for-like sales in the UK increased 3.1% and B&M said that it now plans to open 950 stores in the UK, up from its previous target of 850.

B&M currently has 537 outlets in the UK and the extra 100 stores will create around 5,000 new jobs.

The firm said that trading this year had got off to an "excellent start", adding that 40 to 50 new stores are slated to open in the UK over the next 12 months at a rate of one a week.

Chief executive Simon Arora said a faltering economy and soaring inflation eating into household budgets means B&M is well positioned to grow further.

He said: "For many commentators, the current economic uncertainty is generating concern about UK consumers and the impact on the retail sector.

"At B&M we know we are at our best when household budgets are under pressure and consumers are looking even harder at making savings.

"In an environment of rising prices, we think that consumers become even more receptive to discount propositions such as ours.

"We are therefore confident that the business is well-positioned to deliver further growth in the year ahead, even in an uncertain political environment or challenging economy."

Shoppers have had to stomach rising prices as the slump in sterling following the Brexit vote has meant soaring import costs for retailers, which have then been passed on to consumers.

Discount retailers such as B&M tend to thrive in such conditions.

B&M's chairman, the former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, added: "There was a robust return of trading momentum during the second half which has continued into the early weeks of the new financial year, affirming that B&M's offer resonates well with customers during a period of economic uncertainty and profound structural change in retailing."

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