B&M European Value Retail is in talks with six retailers to buy their stores as it looks to match its rapid revenue growth by expanding its estate.
Announcing its maiden first half results this morning, B&M recorded a 29.7% boost in group revenue to £739.8m for the six months to 27 September. UK revenues were up 19.4% to £681m – representing like-for-like growth of 4.8%.
A net total of 20 new stores were opened in the period, with the company’s 400th UK store opened in October 2014.
B&M said it was on track for at least 50 net new openings this financial year, while chief executive Simon Arora confirmed it is in “active negotiations” with six different retailers who are looking to downsize their estates.
B&M has been heavily linked with buying property from Homebase, which last month admitted it wants to close a quarter of its stores.
Adjusted first half EBITDA (to exclude one-off costs, including IPO fees) rose 34% to £73m, while adjusted operating profit rose by 31.5% to £65.8m. Group gross margin percentage improved by 80 basis points to 34.7%.
B&M said the strong earnings growth was “a reflection of the continued structural shift in the UK to value-led retailing and the competitive strength within our limited assortment mode”.
It also said its new German arm Jawoll was trading “slightly ahead of expectations”, achieving revenues of £58.8m in the first half.
Arora commented: Our unique variety retailing model continues to appeal to shoppers, who are drawn by our broad spread of products and exceptional value for money. We remain very pleased with our new store programme, which is delivering healthy earnings growth and exceptional returns on capital. This financial year we plan to create 2,500 new jobs in the UK. We remain confident that we can increase our store base from 400 stores to our stated goal of 850 stores in the UK.”
Chairman Sir Terry Leahy added: “B&M has delivered good momentum in sales, profits and cash generation during the first half whilst at the same time pushing on with rapid store rollout and investing in new infrastructure and team capability to support this long-term growth. The business is well-positioned as the leading limited assortment general merchandise discounter in a growth sector which offers scope for it to at least double in size in the UK alone over the next few years - and we are making good progress towards that objective.”
B&M floated at 270p per share in June, valuing the business at £2.7bn. The shares are trading back at their float price having dipped as low as 227p in October.