Sales at value womenswear retailer Bonmarché dipped by 0.5% and store like-for-like sales fell by 4.3% in the 53 weeks to 1 April 2017 amid “challenging” post-Christmas trading conditions.
However, sales for the 14 weeks ending 1 April 2017 were up 2.7% on the same period last year and the retailer said it expected pre-tax profits to fall just above the middle of the £5m-£7m range previously forecasted.
Chief executive officer Helen Connolly said she remained “confident” and added that the retailer was working to improve its offer for customers.
“As anticipated, trading conditions post-Christmas continued to be challenging, but this was accounted for when we issued the revised profit guidance last September, and therefore the final result for the year is in line with our expectations. Store like-for like sales were negative in January but stronger during February and March, and we also saw the resumption of growth in online sales following improvements made to our online offering.
“Whilst we expect the apparel market to remain challenging during the coming financial year, we are actively taking measures to improve our proposition to customers. We remain confident that Bonmarché remains unique in its ability to serve the needs of its target market.”
Connolly, who joined in August last year, has previously said she will focus on Bonmarché’s core customer, expand into new categories and exit menswear in a bid to turn the retailer around.
The new chief executive is also working to speed up Bonmarché’s supply chain, working with suppliers to decrease lead times from 28 weeks to 18-20 weeks.