Bonmarché profit up despite disappointing store sales

Wakefield-based Bonmarché, the discount fashion retailer aimed at women over 50, on Friday delivered a trading update for the 52-week period ended March 31, 2018.

“The company is pleased to confirm that, reflecting the good progress achieved during the financial year, the FY18 profit before tax will be in line with the board’s expectations,” said Bonmarché.

“Online sales maintained the strong growth seen throughout the financial year, against comparatives that became more difficult in the fourth quarter.

“Store sales performance was disappointing, reflecting the issues more widely reported in the clothing market.                 

“Whilst total sales for the year therefore declined slightly, the gross margin percentage was resilient.

“The lower headline gross margin that had been anticipated due to adverse FX movements, was largely mitigated through tight stock control and improvements to the loyalty scheme, which led to lower discounting.

“There were also significant overhead cost savings, delivered through improved operational efficiency and reduced, but more effective, marketing expenditure. “

Bonmarché CEO Helen Connolly said: “As anticipated, trading conditions in the final quarter of our financial year remained challenging and, against this backdrop, I am pleased that we have delivered an increase in the FY18 profit before tax compared to last year.

“Whilst we expect the market to remain difficult, our focus will be on continuing to improve our proposition to customers through a number of self-help initiatives, which we expect to drive further progress for the business during the new financial year.

“We will publish our preliminary results for the 52 week period ended 31 March 2018 on Tuesday, 19 June 2018.”