Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

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UK discounter B&M says well stocked for peak trading

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LONDON (Reuters) -B&M, the British discount retailer, said on Thursday it had good stock availability heading into the Christmas trading season, having deliberately taken delivery of imported general merchandise earlier than normal.

FILE PHOTO: Sale signs are displayed at the front of a shop, in London, Britain December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

British retailers are grappling with delays in their international supply chains that are compounded by labour shortages in the UK transport and warehousing networks.

However, FTSE 100 listed B&M, which sells everything from food to homewares, do-it-yourself and gardening products, said supply chains across the group remained robust.

“We have responded decisively to supply chain challenges by leveraging our strong supplier relationships and we have improved in-store execution,” said CEO Simon Arora.

“As a consequence, we are fully stocked heading into the Golden Quarter,” he said.

The group reported a 4.6% fall in first-half core earnings, reflecting an exceptional performance in the same period last year when sales boomed during the first pandemic lockdown.

It made adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 282.2 million pounds ($381.9 million) in the six months to Sept. 25 versus 295.6 million pounds in the same period in 2020.

Revenue increased 1.2% to 2.27 billion pounds and was up 26.8% on a two-year basis.

B&M is paying an interim dividend of 5.0 pence a share, up 16.3%.

The group, whose full name is B&M European Value Retail, has performed well during the pandemic. Its stores were allowed to stay open through multiple UK lockdowns because they sell some food, and its low prices and out-of-town locations chimed with consumers.

Shares in B&M are up 29.4% so far this year.

($1 = 0.7389 pounds)

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