Christmas fails to deliver for Bonmarche
Bonmarche posted a sales slump over the third quarter as Christmas trading failed to deliver for the troubled womenswear chain.
The retailer said that like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to December 29 dropped 7.8%, while total sales plunged 8.1%.
In store alone, comparable sales tumbled 11.1%.
The lacklustre figures come after a December profit warning sent the firm’s shares crashing.
Bonmarche said at the time that it could slip to a £4 million annual loss amid “unprecedented” tough trading conditions.
Chief executive Helen Connolly said conditions on the high street are worse than those seen during the recession sparked by the financial crisis.
It came after trading during the Black Friday week was “extremely poor”, with ongoing subdued demand despite “extensive” discounting. It also blamed Brexit for adding to the consumer woes.
The chief executive said on Friday: “Clearly, in the short time since our last update, macro market conditions have not changed, but I am pleased that the sale stock is clearing well and that trading is in line with our revised expectations.
“In the short term, we continue to focus on ending the year with a clean stock position and ensuring that our balance sheet remains healthy.”
One bright spot was online, where sales rose 22% in the third quarter, although that was slower growth than in Bonmarche’s first half.
Shares were up nearly 7% in morning trade to 39.5p.
The high street chain estimates that with a 1% fall in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter, it expects to hit the midpoint of its underlying pretax profit guidance range.
Ms Connolly added: “Looking forward, the board remains confident in Bonmarche’s prospects and strategy and we will continue to drive the implementation of our previously outlined plans, maintaining a particularly strong emphasis on increasing multi-channel sales.”