Discount retailer B&M has reported a rise in sales over the key festive quarter although it witnessed a slowdown in growth.

It came as the chain said it is on track to have opened 45 stores this financial year, with plans for a similar number of new sites next year.

The B&M European Value Retail group, which also runs the Heron frozen foods chain, revealed that revenues increased by 5% to £1.65 billion over the 13 weeks to December 23.

It said this means revenues grew by 8.1%, on a constant currency basis, over the first nine months of the current financial year, after growth eased back.

B&M UK, which has 717 shops, saw sales grow by 3.7% to £1.35 billion over the quarter leading up to Christmas.

The retailer hailed this as a positive performance and said it sold “excellent” volumes of general merchandise.

The group’s B&M France business recorded a 11.3% rise in revenues to £151 million over the quarter, while Heron Foods saw revenues increase 11.7% to £144 million.

B&M said the whole group is set to have opened 76 new shops across all brands over the year to March, with 45 B&Ms in the UK, 11 B&Ms in France, and 20 new Heron shops.

Alex Russo, chief executive of the group, said: “The performance across the ‘golden quarter’ has been pleasing, with strong operational execution across the three businesses.

“Our strategy remains unchanged – we are an everyday low-price discounter with a laser-focus in keeping excellence in retail standards and our costs the lowest.

“This allows us to provide our products at the best price to all customers, many of whom continue to face significant cost-of-living pressures.

“Our store pipeline is strong and we will open not less than 45 B&M UK stores in each of the next two financial years, driving disciplined cash-generating growth.”

Mr Russo added that the company is on track to meet its earnings target of between £620 million and £630 million for the year.