Gardening products gave a welcome boost to sales as discount retailer B&M reported an overall fall in revenue in the first financial quarter.
Like-for-like revenue at its UK stores fell 4.4 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26th June. But in comparison with the first quarter two years ago, before the Covid pandemic impacted on trading, like-for-like revenue was up 21.3 per cent. B&M reported "volatile" trading patterns throughout the quarter, with the demand for gardening-related products boosting revenue in the final two weeks of the 2020-21 year and early weeks of 2021-22.
It said overall group revenue rose 3.1 per cent in the quarter. The retailer also opened seven new stores during the period, and closed four. B&M chief executive Simon Arora said: "The group has made a strong start to the new financial year and sales remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels.
"As expected, trading throughout the first quarter was volatile as we annualised against the high comparatives from last year.
"Although there remains much uncertainty as to how consumer spending evolves over the coming months, we remain optimistic that our combination of exceptional value across a wide range of product categories and our convenient Out of Town locations will continue to resonate with customers."