Discount chain B&M 'fully stocked' heading into Christmas as sales jump

Discount store chain B&M has insisted that it is "fully stocked" heading into the key festive period after shrugging off the supply chain woes afflicting the wider retail sector.

The company told investors it has deliberately taken delivery of imported general merchandise items earlier than normal to avoid disruption ahead of crucial Christmas trading.

Simon Arora, chief executive of B&M European Value, said: "We have responded decisively to supply chain challenges by leveraging our strong supplier relationships and we have improved in-store execution.

"As a consequence, we are fully stocked heading into the golden quarter, with stores already showcasing our excellent Christmas ranges."

B&M has a 'healthy' pipeline of new stores in the UK, but warned that five outlets of the 45 sites expected to open this year might be delayed until the next financial year. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

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Like-for-like sales for the past six weeks have been 14.7 per cent higher than the same period in 2019 as it reported a strong continued recovery across its B&M UK store estate.

Bosses noted that the group "faces a number of potential cost headwinds and inflationary pressures heading into 2022" but they believe that it is well placed to navigate these challenges.

The firm has a "healthy" pipeline of new stores in the UK, but warned that five outlets of the 45 sites expected to open this year might be delayed until the next financial year.

Its latest update came as B&M reported that group revenues nudged up 1.2 per cent to £2.27 billion for the half-year to September 26, compared with the same period last year.

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Arora added: “The group has performed strongly throughout the first half of our financial year, with customers continuing to be drawn to our value-for-money offer.

“Although the pathway to a 'new normal' remains uncertain and the industry faces a number of supply and inflationary pressures as we enter the second half of the financial year, we are very confident that the B&M group is well positioned to navigate these.”

Eleonora Dani, an analyst at brokerage Shore Capital, noted: “In line with the wider sector, management flags a number of potential cost headwinds and inflationary pressures heading into 2022, but considers itself well positioned to navigate these challenges due to its agile business model, strong supplier relationships and customer value proposition.”

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