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Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché increased its pre-tax profit by 55.3% to £12.4 million in the year to 28 March despite a “challenging” second half of the year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché increased its pre-tax profit by 55.3% to £12.4 million in the year to 28 March despite a “challenging” second half of the year.

While like-for-like sales grew by 4%, or by 6% if online is included, revenue increased by 8.7% to £178.6 million.

During the first half of the year, sales climbed by 11.8% with store like-for-like sales growing by 7.8%. The retailer said the warmer than average weather led to strong demand for seasonal items such as jersey tops, cropped trousers, shorts and swimwear.

In the second half of the year, sales growth slowed to 5.7%, with store like-for-like sales edging up 0.2%, as the mild autumn weather impacted sales of knitwear and coats.

During the year, the retailer opened a net 29 new stores and concessions in target locations which contributed £8.3 million of additional sales. At the end of the financial year, the  store portfolio comprised 292 stores.

Improvements in Bonmarché’s multichannel operations helped to deliver 36% growth in online sales and a 32% increase in call centre sales.

Bonmarché chief executive Beth Butterwick said: "I am satisfied with the current year's performance, in a year of contrasts between a strong performance in the first half, supported by good weather, versus a more challenging second half of the year.

“Against this backdrop, we have continued to deliver improvements across the business and have achieved solid profit growth. The group's financial position is sound, and we enter the new financial year with a strong balance sheet and confidence in our ongoing growth strategy."

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