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UK Retailer B&M Names CEO Arora's Successor; Warns On Profit Margin

By Donna Ahern
UK Retailer B&M Names CEO Arora's Successor; Warns On Profit Margin

British discount retailer B&M on Tuesday named finance chief Alex Russo as the successor to long-time Simon Arora, chief executive officer who is retiring next year.

The retailer, which sells everything from food to homewares, gardening and do-it-yourself products, warned of lower profit margins this year as customers spend less on discretionary products due to red-hot inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

B&M reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of £619 million ($780.44 million) for the year ended 26 March.

Pre-Pandemic Levels

This financial year's core profit is expected to range between £550 million to £600 million, lower than last year but still ahead of pre-pandemic levels.


The group, whose full name is B&M European Value Retail, operates over 1,100 stores across the United Kingdom and France.

Though B&M performed well during the pandemic its shares are down over a quarter so far this year, hurt by the outlook for consumer spending and April's announcement that Arora would retire after over 17 years at the helm.

Disposable Income Squeeze

Britons are facing a squeeze on their disposable income, with inflation hitting a 40-year peak of 9% in April and projected to rise further.

"However, we have seen before that during such times customers will increasingly seek out value for money, and B&M is ideally placed to serve those needs," Arora said in an earnings statement.


To cushion the blow the government last week announced a 15 billion pound package of support for households struggling to meet soaring energy bills.

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more Retail stories, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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