Everyone loves a bargain, right? That would surely explain B&M’s soaring success. The bargain chain’s most recent accounts, published last summer, show a 25.9% rise in group revenue in the 52 weeks to 27 March 2021.

Today’s FT acknowledges that bonanza. “B&M has done well during the pandemic given its value offer and out-of-town locations,” it reports – albeit with a caveat. “Some analysts think that its appeal will soften as people return to town centres and have less money to spend on discretionary purchases, like homeware.”

Which seems likely, given the rising costs of food, energy, National Insurance and so on.

However, other commentators predict the squeeze on incomes will in fact make B&M’s affordable homeware more appealing, the FT adds.

That too makes sense. Because, while people are probably going to spend less money on non-essentials, they’re also going to continue to spend more time at home compared with pre-pandemic.

Marks & Spencer certainly seems to be banking on this latter scenario, today announcing an extension of its ‘Remarksable’ campaign into homeware. “The marketing activity will put a spotlight on the exceptional value of M&S’s entry price point Home product – with trusted value items from tea towels to tea mugs available from just £1,” it promises. About 30 items will be included in the push to grow M&S Home by £150m.

It’s an interesting move by the retailer – which this month announced that sales rose by 8.6% to £3.27bn over the 13 weeks to 1 January 2022, compared with pre-pandemic levels.

“Growth was driven by its food business but highlighted that its clothing and home operation – which has been the retailer’s problem area for a number of years – reported a jump in sales for the second successive quarter,” the Independent reported.

The broadening of ‘Remarksable’, then, is entirely logical. And even more so given similar efforts by rival retailers of all stripes. John Lewis, for instance, has also pinned its future on homeware and a continued sense of home as a haven. And Poundland last summer unveiled Pep&Co Home – an affordable homeware range that Cosmopolitan praised for being “really nice”.

“We know that for millions of customers the pandemic has changed how they feel about the space they call home, making it an important growth opportunity,” says M&S director of home Heidi Woodhouse.

Or, to put it another way (with apologies), this is not just affordable homeware… this is M&S affordable homeware.