Value womenswear retailer Bonmarché has issued a profit warning, blaming poor in-store sales and dwindling consumer footfall.
The retailer now expects underlying profit before taxation for the full year 2019 to be approximately £5.5m, compared to £8m in 2018.
Despite steady growth in online sales, Bonmarché reported that store sales faltered in the second quarter of the year, blaming warm weather for a lack of demand for autumn stock, as well as a low footfall, as retailers see a general dwindling of consumer demand on the UK high streets.
Bonmarché currently operates 323 stores.
The revision to the forecast comes despite early signs of a turnaround at Bonmarché, with first quarter results having shown a 2.7% increase in sales for the 13 weeks to 30 June, boosted by a 27.3% rise in online sales, with store sales down by 1.2%.
Commenting on the announcement, chief executive Helen Connolly noted that the UK high street was in a tough position: “These are undoubtedly challenging times in the retail industry and, in common with many other businesses, Bonmarché’s store trading has been impacted by weaker consumer sentiment and footfall,” she said.
Connolly also stressed that despite the profit warning, Bonmarché was continuing to invest in its turnaround strategy: “We have continued to improve our proposition, particularly our digital capabilities, reflected in the strong online sales. We remain focussed on exploiting the opportunity afforded by the increasing demand for online shopping, whilst modernising the store offer and customer experience.”
“Whilst it is disappointing that the full year 2019 result is expected to be lower than originally planned, despite the challenging market, the health of the business remains strong.”