Retail

B&M Bargains boss pays himself £30m after bumper lockdown sales


The founder and chief executive of B&M Bargains has handed himself a £30m dividend after the budget retailer enjoyed booming sales during England’s last lockdown.

B&M benefited from being classified as an essential retailer which allowed it continue trading through the tiered system of restrictions and the subsequent lockdown while non-essential stores were forced to close.

Sales have also been helped by having shops at out-of-town retail parks which have been busier than high streets during the pandemic.

Simon Arora and his family are the biggest shareholders of B&M via an offshore trust which scooped a £44m payout just two months ago.

B&M said it will also give 30,000 staff an extra week’s wages as reward for their hard work.

Sales rose 22.5 per cent to £1.4bn in the 13 weeks to 26 December.

The company created 500 jobs during the period and opened 18 new stores, taking its total to 673.

B&M recently agreed to hand the government £80m it had saved in business rates relief. The move came after criticism that the company was paying out millions in dividends while receiving a tax break intended to help struggling companies impacted by Covid restrictions.

Major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have also handed back their business rates relief.

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.

He added: “Notwithstanding our status as an essential retailer, with lockdown restrictions in the UK having tightened there remain uncertainties ahead.”

Sales at B&M’s Heron Foods division jumped 7.6 per cent in the quarter to £102.9m. However, its French business was hit by lockdowns in the country.

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



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