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Drapers Top 100 2016 – 89. Helen Connolly, chief executive, Bonmarché

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Helen Connolly

Helen Connolly

Helen Connolly

Former director of buying womenswear and lingerie at Asda’s George Helen Connolly joined womenswear retailer Bonmarché as chief executive in August.

Replacing Beth Butterwick (number 55), Connolly has faced a challenging first few months. In November, the business revealed that its profit before tax and exceptional items fell 63% year on year to £2m in the 26 weeks to 24 September. Total sales fell 4% to £93.1m, and like-for-like sales dropped 8.6%.

Connolly has a clear turnaround plan that includes a sharper focus on its core customer, expansion into new categories, exiting menswear and entering new supply markets. If she can do this, Bonmarché may turn a corner in 2017



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