Bonmarché profit falls 39% in ‘challenging’ year

Wakefield-based Bonmarché, the discount fashion retailer aimed at women over 50, said pre-tax profit fell 39.4% to £5.8 million in the 53 weeks to April 1 due to “a combination of internal and external factors.”

Bonmarché said store like-for-like sales fell 4.3%  — but online sales increased 2.2% and revenue edged 1.1% higher to £190.1 million.

Bonmarché chairman John Coleman said: “The market backdrop to FY17 was more challenging than we had expected, even in the context of the cautious state of mind which prevailed a year ago.

“The decline in the apparel market created by factors such as price and wage inflation, uncertainty linked to the referendum on Brexit and unseasonal weather patterns meant that in order to grow, Bonmarché needed to deliver a significantly improved offer to its customers.

“Disappointingly … the rate of improvement was slower than anticipated and therefore we were unable to secure the increase in market share necessary to deliver the result we had aimed for.

“Nevertheless, I am pleased with the manner in which management has risen to the challenge and, as a result, the business is now significantly stronger than it was a year ago, with a plan which has evolved to reflect the changing market dynamics.”

Shares of Bonmarché edged lower to about 96p, giving it a market value of roughly £48.3 million.

Bonmarché CEO Helen Connolly said: “A combination of internal and external factors over the past year prevented us from improving at the rate we had aimed for.

“However, we believe that the business is now well positioned, with a compelling proposition and robust plan.”