B&M expects to open 40 more stores; appoints new CEO

Value retailer B&M has reported a reduction in UK sales while confirming the appointment of its new CEO.

According to its Preliminary Results for the 52 weeks to 26 March 2022, total group sales were down 2.4% to £4.6bn, with B&M UK sales also down 4.1% to £3.9bn.

EBITDA resulted at £619m, down 1.2%, with pre-tax profit at £525m, reducing by 0.1% year-on-year.

During the period, B&M grew its store estate from 681 to 701 with its larger B&M Homestores ‘increasingly regarded as a ‘destination’ visit for many customers’.

“This is important, since it helps to reinforce customer loyalty and affection towards the B&M brand”, the company said.

According to a national survey of over 96,000 consumers published by BrandVue in March 2022, B&M was ranked the UK’s 9th most loved retail brand overall, and placed 3rd within the Home category.

The B&M UK business expects to open approximately 40 new stores in FY23 and the ‘recently lifted moratorium on tenant evictions should support the current pipeline of opportunities’, the retailer said.

B&M has also announced the appointment of Alex Russo as its new chief executive officer (CEO).

Following the announcement on 22 April 2022 that Simon Arora intends to retire as CEO in 12 months from that date, Alex Russo has been promoted from his role of chief financial officer (CFO) as his successor.  An official handover date is yet to be confirmed.

Alex has considerable relevant experience across the Grocery, General Merchandise and discount retail sectors both in the UK and internationally. This has included senior leadership positions at retailers such as Asda, Tesco plc and Kingfisher plc. 

The Board will now consider the most appropriate handover plan. A process to recruit a successor to Alex as CFO has already begun. In the meantime, both Simon and Alex will remain in their existing roles in order to minimise disruption to the business. A further announcement will be made when appropriate.

Peter Bamford, Chairman, said: “On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to announce Alex Russo as successor to Simon Arora as CEO of B&M.  Since joining the Group, Alex has made a very positive contribution to the business.  He has demonstrated strong leadership skills and a deep appreciation of the B&M culture and business model, making him the outstanding candidate for the role.

“I would once again like to thank Simon for his role in the remarkable growth story of B&M.  He has brought exceptional clarity, focus and consistency, all of which have been fundamental to its success.  I will miss working with him when he does step down, but I am also very much looking forward to working more closely with Alex when he becomes CEO.”

Simon Arora said: “I would like to thank all our colleagues and stakeholders for their support over the last seventeen years. It has been an honour to lead B&M and together build such a large and popular retailer. I believe that Alex is uniquely well placed to continue B&M’s success and I will work hard to ensure a smooth transition.”

Alex Russo said: “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on Simon’s legacy and lead this fantastic business in the years ahead.  We have a well-founded strategy, a very strong customer proposition and significant opportunities for further growth ahead of us.  Along with the support of the Board, I look forward to working together with Bobby Arora and the rest of the senior management team in the years ahead.”

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