Liverpool-based discount retailer B&M registered 22.7 per cent increase in sales in the eight weeks to May 23 due to high demand for its DIY and gardening products during the lockdown. Excluding these products, sales were up by 10.3 per cent.
Majority of B&M’s 950 shops were open during the crisis as they sold food items. Shares in B&M rose by 15¾p, or 4.3 per cent, to 385¼p in mid-morning trading on Friday (29), reported The Times.
The B&M is a dominant force in the UK retail sector. The brothers Simon and Bobby Arora bought the business in 2004 and, after rapid expansion, listed it in 2014.
Arora brothers-Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora-were in the sixth position in the 2019 Asian Rich List with a net worth of £2.3 billion.
“B&M is doing its bit in terms of keeping our customers supplied with the things they need a week in, week out during this period of enormous disruption to the normal operation of the business,” said Simon Arora, the chief executive.
The B&M boss said he did not expect this present level of trading to continue as normal shopping patterns resume and said that the warm spring weather and lockdown had meant that certain purchases of summer stock had been pulled forward.
In the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis, B&M came under fire from its workforce for keeping its stores open. They said they were being put at unnecessary risk of being infected by coronavirus by serving customers who were buying non-essential products without appropriate safety measures.
The management, however, assured that they had put in place a range of protective measures including screened checkouts, distanced queueing and a frequent cleaning regime across the business.