Liverpool-based bargain retailer B&M European Value Retail said on Wednesday it will close 49 of its UK stores and give its UK staff a 10% pay rise amid the coronavirus crisis.
“As a significant retailer of food, drink, cleaning, healthcare, pet food and other essential products our B&M UK fascia and Heron Foods businesses have continued to trade following the guidance issued by the UK Government on 23 March 2020 …” said the Liverpool firm in a stock exchange statement.
“In the UK, B&M traded from 656 stores and a further 293 Heron stores as at the 29 March 2020 year-end.
“We have reluctantly decided to temporarily close 49 B&M UK stores in light of current trading conditions affecting those locations.
“These are typically small format stores and in some cases are located within shopping centres that have largely ceased trading.
“Some 42 of the 49 stores are close to other larger B&M stores.
“We will review the trading patterns on an on-going basis and intend to re-open those stores as soon as normal shopping patterns resume.
“The rest of our store estate in the UK continues to trade in line with Government guidance.
“The temporarily closed stores represent 3% and 2% of FY20 revenue and store contribution EBITDA respectively.
“Colleagues at the affected stores in the UK have been furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“All our Heron Foods stores continue to trade.
“Our 101 stores in France under the Babou and B&M fascias are currently closed under the government restrictions in force there.
“As previously announced, we completed the sale of our German business on 27 March 2020.
“We are grateful to our committed and hard-working colleagues for their remarkable effort and dedication in our stores and supply chain functions in helping customers at this very challenging time.
“To reward our store and distribution colleagues the UK business is now paying 10% enhancement to pay rates to reflect the additional workload that the guidelines impose.
“We have extended our B&M staff discount scheme to all NHS workers, and are donating £1m worth of food and toiletries to Food Banks across the UK.”