Bonmarché’s full-year profits fell amid “difficult trading conditions”, as chief executive Beth Butterwick prepares to leave to take the helm at Karen Millen.
In line with expectations the value womenswear chain’s pre-tax profit fell by 22.6% to £9.6m for the year to March 26, while pre-exceptional profit before tax dropped to £10.6m from £12.4m in 2014/15.
Total revenue was up 5.3% to £188m and like-for-like store sales were up 0.7%. Online sales rose by 3.6%.
During the year the retailer improved size availability, resulting in 15% sales growth across leisurewear, trousers, skirts and lingerie. The business said it continued to “de-weather” coats and knitwear ranges, and developed a new range of clothing called “wardrobe favourites”.
Bonmarché opened a net 20 stores, which contributed an additional £4.7m in sales, and it continued to roll out new fascias across existing stores.
Butterwick said: “Bonmarché’s performance for the year has been achieved amid the difficult trading conditions widely reported across the retail sector. We have emerged from this period with a clear focus on our five key strategic pillars for growth.
“With significant improvements for the benefits of our customer, we are focused on driving our modernisation plan over the coming year. We firmly believe that with its unique position as a niche retailer, focused on catering for the mature female demographic, Bonmarché is well placed for the future.”
Helen Connolly, senior buying director at Asda’s George, will replace Butterwick later this year.