B&M founder pays out another £30m dividend as Christmas sales soar

The founder and chief executive of B&M Bargains has handed himself another massive payout of £30 million as Christmas sales soared.

Founder and chief executive Simon Arora revealed a new special dividend of 20p-a-share would be handed out to shareholders.

The boss and his family are the biggest shareholders in the business, meaning he will pay himself £30 million, in addition to a £44 million dividend payout revealed two months ago.

B&M will also share some of the profits with staff, and has agreed to pay 30,000 workers an extra week’s wages.

The payouts come as the retailer saw a surge in sales during the second English national lockdown and subsequent Tiering as the stores benefitted from their “essential” retail status.

B&M Bargains has been allowed to stay open throughout lockdowns
B&M Bargains has been allowed to stay open throughout lockdowns

Bosses at the retailer said sales in UK stores in the 13 weeks to December 26 soared 26.6% on a like-for-like basis to £1.4 billion.

The company opened 18 new stores and closed two during the period, creating 500 new jobs, meaning B&M now has 673 stores in the UK.

Mr Arora said: “Our trading performance is testament to the hard work and commitment of all our colleagues, to whom I express my sincere thanks.

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues has remained our priority during these unprecedented times, whilst we have worked hard to provide customers with the everyday essentials they need.

“We are awarding some 30,000 store and distribution colleagues an extra week’s wages in recognition of their considerable efforts.”

He added that he remains confident that the business will remain strong in the coming year, despite continued uncertainty on the high street.

The company’s Heron Foods division also saw strong growth with sales up 7.6% in the period to £102.9 million.

But B&M’s French businesses – Babou and B&M France – struggled due to lockdowns in the country during November as part of a national lockdown.

Sales fell 1.4% due to the four weeks of closure but were strong outside the lockdown period.

In November Mr Arora was forced to defend the first special dividend payout as it came at a time when B&M was benefitting from the business rates holiday announced by the Chancellor.

Since then, B&M – following moves from major supermarkets – agreed to hand over the £80 million saved from the rates relief.