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B&M discount chain to open up to 45 stores

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Discount chain B&M has said it will open up to 45 new stores this year after sales soared during the coronavirus lockdown.

It said its business model was “well-attuned” to customer needs, with discount goods being sold at out-of-town stores.

Retailers have had mixed fortunes during the coronavirus pandemic.

In August, retail sales were boosted by increased spending on DIY, but clothing sales still lagged.

Supermarkets and DIY stores are among the retailers that have seen high demand during the pandemic as people stocked up on food and home improvement goods during and after lockdown.

Last week, Tesco and Morrisons again put limits on the number of some items that shoppers could buy to try to prevent a repeat of panic-buying which led to shortages in March.

Rising to the challenge

B&M, which sells goods including DIY and foodstuffs, said its staff had done well to keep up with demand during the half year.

It initially closed 60 stores in shopping centres during the pandemic, but reopened them quite quickly.

A spokesman for the group said that a lot of people were looking for ways of keeping spending down during the lockdown, which attracted new customers.

Those customers have kept coming back.

Group sales jumped by 25.3% between 29 March and 26 September, and the retailer raised its earnings forecast for the period to about £285m from its previous estimate of £250m to £270m.

“Our people have risen to the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis, not least in serving our customers through a period of high demand, keeping our shelves filled, providing a clean and safe shopping environment, as well as sourcing higher volumes than we had planned,” said Simon Arora, B&M chief executive.

“I thank them all for their commitment, hard work and

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Wisconsin Home Improvement Chain Appeals Jury Award for Woman’s Injury

Menard Inc. is appealing a jury award to a woman who was injured when she fell over a flatbed cart at its store in Minot, North Dakota.

A jury last year awarded nearly $40,000 to Darlene Johnson, plus about $145,000 in attorney’s fees in a civil lawsuit against the home improvement chain, based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

According to the complaint in the case, Johnson went to Menards in May 2013 to exchange a floor vent. She stopped at the customer service desk to ask about exchanging the item.

As Johnson turned to leave, she fell onto the flatbed cart that had been left in the walking area beside the service desk, Minot Daily News reported.

Johnson cracked seven teeth which required extensive dental work, including root canals and bridges.

Her attorneys argued Menards was at fault for not keeping the walking area free of obstructions. Menards lawyers said Johnson should have been paying closer attention to her surroundings and that other customers managed to avoid the cart.

The civil jury found that Menards was completely at fault and that Johnson had no responsibility for the accident.

In its appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court, attorneys for Menards also argue that the award of lawyer’s fees is excessive.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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