Bonmarché sales down in run-up to Christmas
Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché saw a 6.9% decline in like-for-like sales in its third quarter as it struggled against a ”challenging” clothing market.
In the 13 weeks to 30 December, store like-for-like sales fell by 9.7% although online sales were up 28.5%. Like-for-like sales were down 7.5% in the five weeks to 30 December.
The results meant that like-for-like sales for the 39 weeks ended 30 December were flat with store like-for-like sales down 2.8% and online sales up 35.5%.
Helen Connolly, chief executive of Bonmarché, said: "The clothing market became more challenging during this quarter, especially on the high street; consequently our store like-for-likes was disappointing. We are pleased with the strong growth we achieved in online sales, reflecting our strategic focus in this area. Following the trend seen throughout this year, the 50+ women's outer/sportswear market declined compared to last year, however Bonmarché continued to grow its share”.
During the quarter, Bonmarché adjusted its stock purchasing which meant the level of discounting was reduced compared to the same period in the prior year. This resulted in a slight improvement in the gross margin percentage. Meanwhile, costs were tightly controlled.
The company said its expectations for full year pre-tax profit remain unchanged.
Connolly added: “There remains uncertainty as to how trading conditions will evolve as we enter our final quarter. We do not anticipate material changes in the underlying market conditions, and in this short-term outlook, the weather represents the most significant uncertainty due to its effect on consumer shopping behaviour, with the risks equally weighted on the up and downsides. 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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