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Bonmarché posts drop in sales after 'challenging' fourth quarter

Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has seen its full year like-for-like sales decline by 1.5% after sales on the same basis fell by 7.4% in its fourth quarter.

FASHION

Bonmarché posts drop in sales after 'challenging' fourth quarter

Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has seen its full year like-for-like sales decline by 1.5% after sales on the same basis fell by 7.4% in its fourth quarter.

While online sales climbed by 31.2% in the 13 weeks to 31 March, like-for-like store sales dropped by 11.1%. This meant that in the full year to 31 March, like-for-like store sales were down 4.5% while online saw an uplift of 34.5%.

Despite the fall in sales, Bonmarché said its full year pre-tax profit will be in line with expectations.

Whilst total sales for the year saw a small decline, Bonmarché said its gross margin percentage was resilient. The lower headline gross margin that had been anticipated due to adverse currency movements, was largely mitigated through tight stock control and improvements to the retailer’s loyalty scheme, which led to lower discounting.

The retailer also made significant savings on its overheads due to improved operational efficiency and reduced, but more effective, marketing expenditure.

Helen Connolly, chief executive 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 FY18 profit before tax compared to last year.

"Whilst 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.”

At the end of the financial year, Bonmarché traded from 325 stores compared to 327 in the previous year.

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