Bonmarché posts drop in sales and profits
In the six months to 24 September, store like-for-like sales declined by 8.6%, with a fall of 8.1% for the first quarter and 9% for the second quarter. Online sales declined by 1.1%. Total revenue was £93.1 million compared to £97 million in the same period in the previous year.
Meanwhile, underlying pre-tax profit declined by 61.6% to £2.5 million in the period.
Bonmarché said the sales decline was due to a combination of factors including difficult market conditions, unseasonable weather, certain basic retail disciplines not being sufficiently co-ordinated or robust, and parts of its strategic plan not being executed to the desired standard.
The company also said its trade was impacted by competitor BHS going into administration and clearing its residual stock at discounted prices prior to closing its stores.
Bonmarché’s recently appointed chief executive Helen Connolly said she will be focusing on operational improvements and enhancing the customer proposition rather than a major strategic repositioning.
She added: "I believe that Bonmarché has significant potential to grow as a retailer serving the 50 plus women's value clothing market, a belief that has strengthened with my continued exposure to the business.
“Work has already begun, to modernise and simplify our operations and improve basic disciplines - key foundations for the more strategic priorities of developing the customer proposition and improving customer journeys.
“I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Bonmarché team, and remain confident that despite the difficult trading conditions, the business will resume growth during FY18."
During the period Bonmarché opened 12 new stores/concessions and relocated three. It also launched a new TV advertising campaign in September.
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