B&M reopens 49 branches that closed temporarily due to Covid-19

B&M has reopened 49 branches that closed temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement has been made in a trading update made by the discount retailer today, which says the stores opened their doors on May 1.

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 B&M is to reopen 49 stores that had temporarily closed
B&M is to reopen 49 stores that had temporarily closedCredit: Alamy

The 49 shops, which B&M wouldn’t name, were initially closed as they are typically smaller outlets and ones located in shopping centres.

B&M says 42 of the 49 stores that closed are close to other larger B&M stores.

The discount retailer has 660 stores in the UK and the remainder of these have continued to trade as normal. Use B&M’s store locator tool to find your nearest.

Heron Foods, which is owned by B&M, was unaffected and all stores have continued to stay open for business.

B&M says open stores have a range of coronavirus measures in place to minimise the risks of infection.

These include screened checkouts, distanced queuing, and a “frequent cleaning regime”.

It adds that store and distribution staff were paid extra wages during the peak of the outbreak in recognition of their contribution during “unprecedented” times.

The retailer also provided a discount to NHS workers during the crisis with £2million, as well as giving a £1million food bank donation.

While the government ordered the closure of all non-essential shops in March, B&M has been allowed to remain open because it sells food and medicine – which are considered essentials.

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The government has gradually been lifting lockdown measures over the past few weeks though, with garden centres and homeware stores allowed to reopen this month, and outdoor markets and car showrooms allowed to reopen from June 1.

Non-essential retailers, such as clothes shops, are allowed to reopen from June 15 but government guidance says fitting rooms will be closed, while covers will be placed over large items such as sofas and beds.

Fast-food chains have also begun reopening for takeaway orders only. They were allowed to remain open during lockdown for takeaways but many initially shut their doors while they worked out how to operate safely during the epidemic.

Hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed until at least July 4.

B&M says UK revenues are up 22.7 per cent over the first eight weeks of the new financial year beginning April 6, as despite a fall in footfall there’s been strong demand for DIY and gardening products.

But it points out that it expects normal shopping patterns to resume shortly.

Simon Arora, chief executive, said: “We have encountered exceptionally strong demand in our UK business over recent weeks.

“Customers have been coming to our stores much less frequently through the lockdown but their average spend has been much higher than normal.

“I would like to thank them for their patience and consideration in observing social distancing inside and outside our stores during this period.”

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