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B&M Bargains owner B&M European Value Retail saw an uplift in sales and profits last year driven by volume growth and new store openings.

Total group revenues in the year to 30 March were up 10.1% year on year to £5.5bn.

Overall revenues were boosted by an extra week of trading, which added 2.3% to group revenues as well as benefiting from an early Easter.

However, all fascias also delivered volume growth through both positive like-for-like customer transaction numbers and new space growth.

The group opened 78 gross new stores across in the period – 47 in B&M UK, 20 in Heron Foods and 11 in B&M France.

The B&M brand in the UK was up 8.5% year on year to £4.4bn, with like-for-like revenues up 3.7%.

Heron Foods saw revenue growth of 15.3% to £485m, while B&M France was up 19.2% to £431m.

Group adjusted EBITDA increased by 9.7% to £629m, reflecting volume led revenue growth, with the cost leverage and productivity gains of higher transaction numbers helping reduce cost-to-sell percentages.

Group adjusted operating profit increased by 10.9% as it continued to invest in our store estate and have 60 net more stores across the group.

CEO Alex Russo commented: “FY24 has been another good year for B&M. The three key components of our business – buying, logistics and retail, are working in balance and we continue to deliver excellent products at everyday low prices to our consumers. We are well set for the years ahead.

“During Q4, we accelerated our opening programme, and the step up in openings is continuing. In FY25, we will open not less than 45 gross new B&M stores in the UK, plus a meaningful number in France and for Heron. We have also raised our long-term store target to not less than 1,200 B&M UK stores, which provides a clear runway of profitable growth ahead for us, from our current base of 741 B&M UK stores.

“We have demonstrated strong volume-led momentum in our business throughout our trading history and that has continued, driving our profits ahead of both pandemic and pre-pandemic benchmarks. Despite the more challenging comparatives, with continued new store openings, and a laser focus on low prices and best in class retail standards, we remain confident in our outlook for cash generation and profit growth.”

Morning update

WH Smith grew sales in its third quarter, as strong UK and global travel sales mitigated weaker performance on the high street.

Total sales for the 13 weeks to 1 June were up 4% on a like-for-like basis and 5% on a total basis, helped by new travel store openings.

Total travel sales were up 8% on a total basis and 5% on a like-for-like basis, with overall sales up 15% in rest of the world and 9% in the UK, while the US grew by 3%.

Its UK performance was helped by a continued strong recovery in passenger numbers in, with total revenue up 8% in air, up 14% in hospitals and up 8% in rail in the period.

High street sales were down 4% on a 1% like-for-like sales decline.

Looking ahead, WH Smith said it was well positioned as it enters its peak summer trading period.

“Good trading momentum continues across all three travel divisions and we are in a strong position to capitalise on substantial growth opportunities across our markets,” it stated.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up 0.2% to 8,246.6pts.

Risers include WH Smith, up 3.1% to 1,178p, Coca-Cola HBC, up 2.2% to 2,748p and Haleon, up 1.8% to 328.6p.

Fallers include B&M Value Retail, down 4.9% to 519.4p, Virgin Wines, down 2.1% to 46.5p and Deliveroo, down 1.6% to 135p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 fell back 0.4% to 8,232.1pts yesterday.

Ocado fell back 7.6% to 353.7p as it prepares to be ejected from the FTSE 100 once trading closes today.

Other fallers included SSP Group, down 3.4% to 160.9p, Domino’s Pizza Group, down 3.2% to 325.8p, THG, down 2.9% to 67.8p, Greencore, down 2.5% to 172.2p, DS Smith, down 1.6% to 376.2p and WH Smith, down 1.2% to 1,143p.

The day’s risers included Glanbia, up 5.7% to €18.28, Bakkavor, up 2.1% to 147p, Naked Wines, up 2% to 61.2p, Marks & Spencer, up 1.8% to 311.6p and McBride, up 1.6% to 128p.