The founder and chief executive of B&M Bargains has handed himself a £30m dividend after the budget retailer enjoyed booming sales during England’s last lockdown.
B&M benefited from being classified as an essential retailer which allowed it continue trading through the tiered system of restrictions and the subsequent lockdown while non-essential stores were forced to close.
Sales have also been helped by having shops at out-of-town retail parks which have been busier than high streets during the pandemic.
Simon Arora and his family are the biggest shareholders of B&M via an offshore trust which scooped a £44m payout just two months ago.
B&M said it will also give 30,000 staff an extra week’s wages as reward for their hard work.
Sales rose 22.5 per cent to £1.4bn in the 13 weeks to 26 December.
The company created 500 jobs during the period and opened 18 new stores, taking its total to 673.
B&M recently agreed to hand the government £80m it had saved in business rates relief. The move came after criticism that the company was paying out millions in dividends while receiving a tax break intended to help struggling companies impacted by Covid restrictions.
Major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have also handed back their business rates relief.
Mr Arora said: “Our trading performance is testament to the hard work and commitment of all our colleagues, to whom I express my sincere thanks.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues has remained our priority during these unprecedented times, whilst we have worked hard to provide customers with the everyday essentials they need.
He added: “Notwithstanding our status as an essential retailer, with lockdown restrictions in the UK having tightened there remain uncertainties ahead.”
Sales at B&M’s Heron Foods division jumped 7.6 per cent in the quarter to £102.9m. However, its French business was hit by lockdowns in the country.
Sales fell 1.4 per cent due to the four weeks of closure but were strong outside the lockdown period.