B&M set to post at least £590m in earnings amid pandemic gains

B&M is expected to unveil bumper earnings for the past year as its value proposition continued to attract customers during the pandemic.

The discount retail group is expected to reveal adjusted earnings of at least £590 million for the year to the end of March in a trading update on Thursday June 3.

It is also expected to post higher revenues after its UK stores remained open due to their essential status during the three lockdowns.

Nevertheless, shareholders will be keen to find out if the group was able to maintain the strong revenue growth witnessed in the quarter to Christmas in the final three months of the financial year.

B&M, which operates a large business in mainland Europe, said last year that it saw a jump in the number of new customers coming into its stores, attracted by its discount prices.

The financial toll of the pandemic will help to contribute to greater demands from its customer base to keep prices low despite potential cost pressures over the year, including Brexit costs.

Investors will be keen to hear how the business plans to retain customers while maintaining its profit margins.

HSBC analyst Andrew Porteous said he expects B&M to “consolidate pandemic gains” amid expectations that customer behaviours will have become embedded.

“While B&M will face more competition in an open economy, it will also benefit from there being more footfall around,” he added.

“Consumers that discovered its offer last year are likely to remember its attractions while visiting neighbouring stores.

“We think this combines into a very reasonable outlook for B&M, which has clearly made gains during the pandemic and has the capacity to positively surprise against realistic expectations as things open up.”

In March, the company said it expects to deliver earnings of between £590 million and £620 million for the past year.

It said earnings will be higher than earlier forecasts despite committing to repay the £80 million business rates holiday it received from the Government.

Shareholders will hope this improves further in the current financial year as up to £80 million worth of Covid-related costs fall away.