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Market Commentary

​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 01 June, 2015

B&M sales boost as it buys B&Q stores

B&M, the discount chain, has this week reported that its total sales jumped 29.5% to £1.6bn and that its LFLs increased 4.4% in the 12 months to March 28. The boost in total sales is largely down to its rampant expansion after the Liverpool-based business opened one new shop a week last year, bringing its total to 425 across the country. It plans further expansion into Europe this year, after buying the German group Jawoll. The business, which is chaired by former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, also said that adjusted pre-tax profits rose by 55.7% to £135m in the year.

As part of its expansion strategy, B&M is understood to have snapped up 12 stores from Britain’s biggest DIY retailer, B&Q, which is rationalising its store portfolio. Kingfisher revealed last week that LFLs at B&Q fell 1.1% in its first quarter, although this was offset by continued strong growth at its Screwfix business, up 15.4%. Kingfisher also noted its UK and Ireland business was up against strong comparables from a year earlier, when LFLs rose 9.7% due to a later Easter and good weather.

Further evidence of the strength in the discount sector, comes from Mike Ashley’s launch of a new store, MegaValue.com. The chain’s first store is on Kidderminster High Street in the site of an old department store. The subtly titled shop appears to be Ashley's first expansion into the general merchandising and discounting sector as a potential rival to B&M, Wilko and other discounters.

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