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    29 May, 2020
    Posted by justelectric
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    B&M buoyed by DIY sales boom in UK coronavirus lockdown | Business


    The discount retailer B&M has said exceptionally strong demand for DIY and gardening products in the coronavirus lockdown drove a 22.7% jump in underlying UK sales over the last eight weeks.

    The group, which has traded throughout, said UK like-for-like sales growth had accelerated from 6.6% in the final quarter of its 2019-20 year, which benefited from a strong grocery performance in March.

    It said customers had been visiting its stores less frequently during the lockdown but their average spend had been much higher than usual.

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    However, the business was experiencing larger-than-normal operating costs in distribution and its stores because of physical-distancing measures and higher wage costs during the crisis.

    It also warned there had been a significant “bring-forward” of demand in some key categories, partly caused by the warm spring weather.

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    The chief executive, Simon Arora, said: “We are not expecting this current level of trading to continue as normal shopping patterns resume. There is also considerable uncertainty in relation to the progression of Covid-19 and the economic outlook, and it is therefore hard to predict future trading levels.”

    B&M shares were up 4% at £3.85 in morning trading on Friday, valuing the business at £3.85bn.


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