Bonmarché hit by weak in-store sales
Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché saw its like-for-like sales decline by 1% in its first half after in-store sales were hit by “weaker consumer sentiment and footfall”.
While online sales climbed by 28.9% in the six months to 29 September, store like-for-likes fell by 4%. The retailer said the online sales growth was consistent during the period but that store sales were significantly worse in the second quarter.
The uplift in online sales was driven by customers being offered a wider range of products and sizes, and an increase in the take-up of in-store ordering.
Helen Connolly, chief executive of Bonmarché, said: “Whilst store trading has been impacted by the general weaker consumer sentiment and footfall seen across the market, we have continued to improve our proposition, particularly our digital capabilities and with a broader, modernised product offer, which is reflected in our strong online performance.
“We remain focused on exploiting the opportunity afforded by the increasing demand for online shopping and are encouraged by customers’ responses to new ranges such as denim, leisurewear and resortwear.”
Meanwhile, statutory pre-tax profit was £2.3 million compared to £4.2 million in the same period in the previous year. Underlying profit before tax was £3.3 million compared to £4.2 million a year earlier.
Total revenue was in line with last year at £97.9 million.
During the period Bonmarché opened one new store in Aberdeen. It also closed five stores that had come to the end of their leases.
If sales meet expectations during the key Christmas trading period, the retailer will be maintaining its guidance for underlying pre-tax profit to be £5.5 million in its full year.
Connolly added: “Despite the challenging market, the health and fundamentals of the business remain strong and the board remains confident in the strategy and in Bonmarché’s long-term prospects.”
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