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B&M hikes divi as mild weather and store openings impact LFL sales

B&M warned "greater-than-budgeted" store opening costs had brought short-term operational challenges.

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The company said it is in line with expectations

B&M European Value Retail (LON:BME) said it is in line with expectations and hiked its interim dividend but warned the mild weather had reduced demand for winter outfits.

The discount retailer, which is chaired by former Tesco (LON:TSCO) boss Sir Terry Leahy, saw sales rise 25% to £930mln in the first half.

However, B&M also warned that "greater-than-budgeted" store opening costs due to the opening of two new UK distribution centres has brought some short-term operational challenges.

Revenue was only 1.2% higher on a like-for-like basis, as a result, though the company said overall earnings growth and return on investment remains strong.

The bargain-based chain opened 47 net new stores in the UK over the first half and has 524 shops worldwide.

It noted market conditions in the UK remain “favourable”, as it looks to also expand its German Jawoll brand.

Underlying earnings [EBITDA] was 18% higher to £86.6mln, while pre-tax profits lifted 25% to £66.4mln, in its interims.

B&M also hiked its dividend by some 77% to 1.6p from 0.9p the year before, which will be paid in January.

Leahy said it had made good progress on the year and was “well prepared for the rest of the year and beyond.”

Shares were 4.5% lower to 305p on Tuesday.

Quick facts: B&M European Value Retail SA

Price: 473.5 GBX

LSE:BME
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £4.74 billion
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