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Bonmarché posts mixed trading performance

Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché grew is total sales by 3.3% year-on-year in the 13 weeks to 24 December. Store like-for-like sales edged up 0.8%.

FASHION

Bonmarché posts mixed trading performance

Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché grew is total sales by 3.3% year-on-year in the 13 weeks to 24 December. Store like-for-like sales edged up 0.8%.

The company said it offered fewer promotions throughout the quarter. Although the approach impacted overall sales volumes, it resulted in a stronger gross margin performance with product gross margin in the quarter 2.2% higher than in the same period in the previous year.

However, store like-for-like sales dropped 3.4% in the five weeks to Christmas Eve while online sales declined by 14.3%.

Helen Connolly, chief executive of Bonmarché, said: "Given the backdrop of the current trading environment, our third quarter store sales were satisfactory, particularly in light of the business still being in the early stages of its turnaround. The online performance was poor, and this continues to be a key area of focus.

“Customers have responded well to the improved, more modern ranges in our core autumn/winter product categories of coats and knitwear. This was helped by more seasonally appropriate weather during the quarter, which strengthened demand and to some degree counterbalanced the weakness we are experiencing in the apparel market.”

The figures mean that sales for the 39 weeks ended 24 December 2016 decreased by 1.3% and store like-for-like sales fell by 5.3%.

Looking ahead, Connolly said: “There remains a degree of uncertainty as to trading conditions as we enter our final quarter. Nevertheless, at the end of the third quarter, the board's view of the likely outcome for the full year remains in line with previous expectations."

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