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Bonmarche Q4 sales drop but full-year profit to rise

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 20 Apr 2018

Bonmarche Q4 sales drop but full-year profit to rise

(WebFG News) - Womenswear retailer Bonmarche posted a drop in fourth-quarter store like-for-like sales on Friday, although online sales grew and the company said 2018 pre-tax profit will be in line with the board's expectations.
LFL stores sales in the fourth quarter were down 11.1%, but online only sales were 31.2% higher. For the year to the end of March 2018, store LFL sales declined by 4.5%, while online sales were 34.5% higher.

Bonmarche said the online segment maintained the strong growth seen throughout the financial year, against comparatives that become more difficult in the final quarter. The store sales performance was "disappointing", however, reflecting morewidely reported issues in the clothing market.

Chief executive officer 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."

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: "Given how bad the clothing retailing market has been, the Q4 trading update from the embattled Bonmarche today could have been worse."

Shares in the company slumped back in January after it reported a fall in sales over the Christmas period amid a "challenging" clothing market. Sales in the 13 weeks to 30 December fell 5.5% compared with the same period a year ago, with store LFL sales down 9.7%. However, online sales were up 28.5%.

At 0945 BST, the shares were up 1.6% to 91.90p.

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