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Women’s clothing retailer Bonmarché saw its like-for-like sales edge up 0.5% in its fourth quarter compared to a fall of 3.3% a year earlier.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

In the 13 week period to 26 March, total sales rose by 5.2%.

Beth Butterwick, chief executive of Bonmarché, said post-Christmas trading conditions have continued to be challenging with the exception of January whene the company saw a higher than average demand for autumn/winter sale stock.

She added: “Although helpful in clearing these ranges, the continued colder weather has been unhelpful in kick-starting real demand for spring products.”

The figures mean that sales rose by 1% on a like-for-like basis in the year to 26 March and by 5.3% on total basis.

Butterwick said: “Overall, consumer confidence does not appear buoyant and, given that context, I believe that the provisional results represent a creditable performance. Our expectation is that trading conditions will remain challenging, and therefore our outlook for the FY17 result is cautious."

Bonmarché has also announced the appointment of Mark McClennon as an independent non-executive director with immediate effect.

McClennon is currently global vice president for IT at Unilever, leading IT across marketing, e-commerce, R&D and sustainability. He joined Unilever in 1993 and has held a variety of senior roles across the business.

John Coleman, Bonmarché chairman, said: "I am delighted with Mark's appointment. His experience gained over more than twenty years within Unilever will bring to the Board skills and knowledge which will be especially valuable given the developing business change agenda within Bonmarché's strategy."

In addition, Bonmarché has appointed Sergei Spiridonov as a non-independent non-executive director. He is the nominee of the company's majority shareholder, BM Holdings, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners.

Currently group chief operating officer of Sun European Partners, the European adviser to Sun Capital, Spiridonov’s previous roles include leading the strategic transformation team at Tesco. Before that he was partner at McKinsey and Company where he worked with a range of consumer and retail businesses.

Coleman added: "I would like to welcome Sergei to the board. His knowledge and background, particularly in the consumer space, will be valuable going forward and we look forward to continuing our good relationship with our majority shareholder.”

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