B&M European Value lower as sales growth slows

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B&M European Value Retail SA (LON:BME) said its new fiscal year has got off to a strong start although trading remains volatile.


The cut-price retailer, which has traded throughout the pandemic by virtue of selling food lines alongside the household goods it is known for, said revenue in the 13 weeks to 26 June was up 3.1% year-on-year on a constant currency (CC) basis, down from growth of 27.7% in the preceding 13-week period.


Compared to the same period of 2019, pre-pandemic, revenue from the UK’s B&M stores was up 21.3% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis but was down 4.4% on the same period of last year.


Trading patterns were volatile throughout the quarter, with a pull-forward in Gardening demand boosting LFL sales in the final two weeks of fiscal 2021 and early weeks of fiscal 2022, and also depressing the subsequent weeks, B&M said.


The retailer said it is too early to accurately predict likely revenue and profitability over the full year but it is currently on track with its plans for the year.


“The group has made a strong start to the new financial year and sales remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels. As expected, trading throughout the first quarter was volatile as we annualised against the high comparatives from last year,” said Simon Arora, the chief executive of B&M.


“Although there remains much uncertainty as to how consumer spending evolves over the coming months, we remain optimistic that our combination of exceptional value across a wide range of product categories and our convenient Out of Town locations will continue to resonate with customers,” he added.


Peel Hunt stuck with its ‘hold’ rating and seemed disinclined to get too excited over an update covering only a short period.


“The 1Q only updates us on four weeks, so must be read with caution. LFL has slowed, as management indicated it would: it was 1% for the first nine weeks and is now double-digit negative, but the comp was nigh on impossible. We expect -7% LFL for the balance of the year. We are not changing numbers today, but believe the risk is to the downside,” the broker said.


Shares in B&M were off 2.9% at 560.8p in the first half-hour of trading.

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