Discount retailer B&M has said it has seen a “steady recovery” in customer numbers after footfall dived in the face of the coronavirus lockdown.

B&M European Value Retail saw group sales jump to £1.15 billion for the past three months, as it benefited from 26.9% like-for-like sales growth in the UK.

Sales from B&M Bargains leapt by 33.7% to £987.8 million for the period to June 27, as customers flocked to its out-of-town stores.

It said its customer count recovered during the quarter after an “initial decline during lockdown”, as average transaction value also increased.

B&M also reopened a number of sites impacted by the lockdown, with it trading from 656 stores at the end of June compared with 632 stores at the end of the previous quarter.

Its frozen food business, Heron Foods, increased sales by 21.4% to £113 million for the quarter on the back of strong like-for-like sales growth.

Simon Arora, chief executive of B&M, said: “The group has made a strong start to the financial year, with a particularly strong performance in our UK businesses, and progress now resumed in France after an eight-week closure period.

“However, as outlined at our preliminary results for the last financial year announced on June 11, there are a great deal of uncertainties ahead.

“The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our priority whilst we work hard to continue to meet our customers’ needs in these difficult times.”

Shares in the company moved 4.9% higher to 416.8p in early trading as investors welcomed the update.