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Bonmarché reports sales rise but warns of sluggish start to spring

Bonmarché has reported sales increased 5.2% in its fourth quarter ended March 26, with like-for-like store sales up by just 0.4%.



It expects profit before tax to be at the lower end of the guidance but said the group’s financial position remains sound.

For the full year, the womenswear retailer increased store like-for-like sales by 0.7% and online sales by 3.6% compared with the previous year. Total sales were up by 5.3% against 2015.

Outgoing chief executive Beth Butterwick said: “Post-Christmas, trading conditions have continued to be quite challenging, with the exception of January where we saw a higher than average demand for autumn/winter Sale stock. Although helpful in clearing these ranges, the continued cold weather has been unhelpful in kick-starting real demand for spring products.”

She said customer confidence does not appear buoyant and expects trading conditions to remain challenging.

The retailer has also boosted its board with the appointment of Mark McClennon as independent non-executive director and Sergei Spiridonov as non-independent, non-executive director.

McClennon will serve on the audit, remuneration and nomination committees and is currently global vice president for IT at Unilever. Spiridonov is the nominee of Bonmarché’s major shareholder BM Holdings, which is part of Sun Capital Partners, and replaces its current nominee Michael Kalb.

Earlier this week it was announced that Welsh fashion designer David Emanuel will finish his collection for Bonmarché after nine years.

Last week, Helen Connolly, senior buying director for George at Asda, was confirmed as its new chief executive, replacing Butterwick who will take up the same role at Karen Millen.

Read our analysis on the challenges and opportunities facing Connolly

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