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'Disappointing' store sales at Bonmarché

Like-for-like sales at womenswear retailer Bonmarché dropped 1.5% in the year to 31 March, as a result of “disappointing” store performance but strong online growth.

Like-for-like store sales fell 4.5% year on year, “reflecting the issues more widely reported in the clothing market”, while online sales grew 34.5%.

Nevertheless, the company said in its trading update that profits before tax would be in line with expectations.

It said effects of the weakness of sterling on gross margin “was largely mitigated through tight stock control and improvements to the loyalty scheme, which led to lower discounting”.

It also reported “significant” cost savings as a result of “improved operational efficiency” and “reduced, but more effective marketing expenditure”.

Helen Connolly, CEO of Bonmarché, said: “As anticipated, trading conditions in the final quarter of our financial year remained challenging and, against this backdrop, I am pleased that we have delivered an increase in the full-year profit before tax compared with last year.

“While we expect the market to remain difficult, our focus will be on continuing to improve our proposition to customers through a number of self-help initiatives, which we expect to drive further progress for the business during the new financial year.”

Bonmarché traded from 325 stores as at 13 March (down from 327 in 2016/17).


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