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01 Apr 2020 | 12:40

B&M European Value Retail to temporarily close 49 UK stores, furlough staff

(Sharecast News) - Discount retailer B&M European Value Retail said on Wednesday that it will temporarily close 49 of its UK stores "in light of current trading conditions" and that staff at the affected stores will be furloughed. Following guidance issued by the government last week, the retailer's UK stores and Heron Foods businesses have continued to trade. In the UK, the company was trading from 656 stores and a further 293 Heron stores as at the 29 March.

However, the group said it had "reluctantly" decided to temporarily close some UK stores, namely the small format ones that are located within shopping centres that have largely ceased trading. Some 42 of the 49 stores are close to other larger B&M stores, it said.

"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," B&M added.

The closed stores represent 3% and 2% of FY20 revenue and store contribution EBITDA, respectively. B&M said colleagues at affected stores have been furloughed under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The rest of its UK store estate continues to trade in line with government guidance, it said. Meanwhile, the Heron Foods stores continue to trade, while its 101 Babou and B&M stores in France are closed due to government restrictions.

B&M said it is now paying 10% enhancement to pay rates to staff in stores and distribution centres "to reflect the additional workload that the guidelines impose".

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