B&M has said it will temporarily close almost 50 of its stores in a bid to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

In a Covid-19 update on Wednesday, the bargain retail giant said the decision came "in light of current trading conditions".

The Speke-based firm said many of the shops are "small format stores", with some in shopping centres that have already closed due to the current government guidelines.

42 of the 49 stores are close to other larger B&Ms, the firm said, adding that it will review the situation on an "on-going basis".

B&M hopes to reopen the stores "as soon as normal shopping patterns resume".

It's not yet know which sites are affected by the announcement.

A statement from B&M said: "We are grateful to our committed and hard-working colleagues for their remarkable effort and dedication in our stores and supply chain functions in helping customers at this very challenging time.

"The rest of our store estate in the UK continues to trade in line with Government guidance. The temporarily closed stores represent 3% and 2% of FY20 revenue and store contribution respectively.

"Colleagues at the affected stores in the UK have been furloughed under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme."

B&M also said it has given a 10% rise in wages to staff "to reflect the additional workload that the guidelines impose".

The company has extended its B&M staff discount to all NHS workers, as well as donating £1m worth of food and toiletries to food banks across the UK.

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As of the end of March, B&M traded from 656 stores and 293 Heron Food stores.

The statement said that prior to the decision, B&M and Heron Foods had continued to trade following the guidance issued by the Government last week, adding that its first priority has been to "protect and support our customers and colleagues".

No Heron Foods stores will be affected by the move, however all 101 of B&M's Babou stores in France are currently closed due to government restrictions in force.