B&M Bargains sees surge in DIY and gardening sales during lockdown

Discounter B&M Bargains has seen a surge in DIY and gardening sales as locked-down households snapped up home improvement tools and products, the company said.

Bosses revealed that, in the eight weeks to May 23, like-for-like sales in stores, which have remained open as an “essential” retailer, were up 22.7% compared with a year earlier.

Excluding those categories, sales were up 10.3% on a like-for-like basis due to strong food sales, although costs have risen due to implementing social distancing measure and protections for customers and staff, B&M added.

The retailer also revealed that 49 B&M stores which were previously closed during the coronavirus crisis have now reopened.

Chief executive Simon Arora said: “We have encountered exceptionally strong demand in our UK business over recent weeks.

“Customers have been coming to our stores much less frequently through the lockdown but their average spend has been much higher than normal.”

The growth in gardening and DIY products was particularly strong, as Government guidelines kept garden centres closed and rival home improvement retailer B&Q closed to allow for new social distancing measures to be introduced.

Mr Arora added: “We have seen a significant bring-forward of demand in some key categories and the remarkably warm spring weather in the UK has been a major factor behind this during recent weeks.

“We are not expecting this current level of trading to continue as normal shopping patterns resume.

“Clearly, there is also considerable uncertainty in relation to both the progression of Covid-19 and the economic outlook and it is therefore hard to predict future trading levels.”

B&M has also benefited from a 100% business rates holiday this year on all commercial premises in England, although the retailer did not reveal how much it was saving from the deal announced to help retailers whose doors were forced to closed.

B&M has also donated £1 million to UK food banks and a £2 million discount to NHS workers.

Stores in France closed on March 15 and all but two reopened on May 11 following lockdown easing in the country.

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