B&M European Value Retail shares marked down as like-for-like sales growth stalls

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B&M European Value Retail SA (LON:BME) shares were on offer on Thursday morning as like-for-like (LFL) sales shifted into reverse.

In the first nine weeks of the current financial year, B&M UK’s LFL sales were down 1% year-on-year.

Trading continues to be volatile at a weekly and product category level, in particular since the recent easing of lockdown restrictions and B&M’s management expects this will likely remain the case for the whole of the financial year (FY22). As such, the B&M UK business expects to see a decline in LFL revenues in FY22 compared to FY21, but is focused on delivering a healthy two-year LFL comparison versus FY20.

The variety goods retailer’s shares were down 4.2% at 537.8p despite posting adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) that were ahead of the consensus forecast of £600mln and above the company’s guidance range of £590 – 620mln.

A stonking final week of the financial year for the UK business – the best in the group’s history for its UK stores – pushed adjusted EBITDA up to £626.4mln from £342.3mln the year before.

Statutory profit before tax more than doubled to £525.4mln from £252.0mln the year before.

Revenues surged 29.9% to £4.8bn from £3.81bn as the chain’s shops were able to stay open throughout the pandemic by virtue of being categorised as a food retailer.

The final dividend has been increased to 13p from 5.4p the previous year, taking the full-year payout to 17.3p, up from 8.1p.

“The core B&M UK business, as an essential retailer, traded throughout the year and welcomed a number of new shoppers, with colleagues working tirelessly to maintain on-shelf availability and provide a safe shopping environment. We also made strong progress in France, despite many stores being closed for up to ten weeks throughout the year,” said Simon Arora, the chief executive of B&M.

“Looking ahead, there are many uncertainties as society slowly emerges from lockdown and trading patterns are likely to be unpredictable for much of the year. Within our UK business, we will be up against the strong comparatives from last year but we remain confident that the B&M customer proposition, with its modern network of predominantly Out of Town stores and value-led variety offer, will prove highly relevant to the needs of shoppers. As such, we are well-positioned to support the communities in which we trade, retain the loyalty of new customers, and to continue our store roll-out strategy,” he added.

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