B&M has poached The Range’s chief digital and omnichannel officer Jens Sorensen as it gears up for a push into ecommerce.

Sorensen has joined the value retailer as its new digital director. During his time at The Range, Sorensen held a variety of roles across ecommerce during a six-year period, culminating in chief digital and omnichannel boss.

B&M declined to comment on what Sorensen’s exact remit would be or whether his appointment signalled an imminent move into ecommerce.

B&M does not currently sell online, but its value rival Poundland launched an online delivery service last summer amid the coronvavirus pandemic. 

Retail Week understands that B&M had initially planned to move into ecommerce at the start of last year, but bosses shelved the plans and doubled down on stores following the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.

But Sorensen’s appointment suggests B&M could now be ready to resurrect those plans.

Sources close to the retailer said that, should it launch online, the transactional website would focus on bigger-ticket items such as garden products and outdoor furniture, some of which could be delivered to customers’ homes directly by B&M’s third-party suppliers in a marketplace-style model.

Smaller, lower-margin items sold in B&M’s stores, such as groceries, homewares and toys, are not expected to be included in its online plans should it press ahead with the launch.  

B&M executives are understood to harbour concerns that selling such categories online would cannibalise sales made through its stores and present a greater margin challenge.

B&M has emerged as one of the big winners of the coronavirus pandemic and a potential move online would be seen as a way to further capitalise on a period of booming sales.

Its pre-tax profit more than doubled to £254m in the 26 weeks to September 26, 2020, and like-for-like sales in its core UK business surged 21.1% during the crucial golden quarter.