Discount retail chain B&M is to expand further into the south-east of England as it plans to grow store numbers from 576 to 950 over the next few years.

The planned growth will be supported by a £110m investment in a 1,000,000sq ft distribution centre in Bedford over the next 18 months. It will be accompanied by an expansion of the Heron Foods chain, which B&M acquired in 2017, from 250 to 280 stores. B&M declined to reveal exact details on completion dates and targeted expansion areas.

However, wholesale expert David Gilroy told RN independent retailers in the region would not have to worry. “It is another retailer expanding its presence, but it operates on a discount model and not as much on convenience as independent retailers.

“The two business models are different and I doubt independent retailers would need to worry about B&M taking away customers.”

B&M chief executive Simon Arora added: “This new facility will provide additional support for B&M and Heron Foods as we build up our own network from out heartland in the north of England.”