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Bonmarché boosted by rise in 'mature' e-shoppers

Value retailer Bonmarché saw total sales rise 7.6% during its first Christmas trading as a public company, thanks to upgrades in product quality and a rise in “mature” shoppers going online.

Over the five weeks to December 28, the womenswear chain saw like-for-likes rise 6%, while online sales rose just over 70%.

The business also saw growth over the 13 weeks to the same point, with like for likes up 4.7% and online sales up 60.6%. Total sales in that period rose 6.3%.

Bonmarche said it had fewer stores open in that quarter than in the previous year, as a result of Sun European closing around 130 of the 392 stores it bought from Peacocks in January 2012, as the latter business entered administration.

Chief executive Beth Butterwick said she was “encouraged” by the performance, highlighting the growth in multichannel as having come about from investment in platforms and fulfilment.

“This progress is evidence that the mature customer is embracing a combination of shopping channels,” she said.

The business, which is part-way through a refurbishment of its stores, has also benefited from upgrades in product quality and the introduction of new lines such as lingerie.

“The improvements in our autumn 13 ranges are a result of us listening to, and acting upon, all customer feedback,” she added.

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