Mixed numbers at fashion chain Bonmarche

Bonmarche figures cover the period until Christmas Eve. Picture: Contributed

Bonmarche figures cover the period until Christmas Eve. Picture: Contributed

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Sales at womenswear retailer Bonmarche edged up in the third quarter as the retailer opted for fewer discounts over the festive trading period.

The retailer said like-for-like store sales rose 0.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to 24 December after the firm said it took a “less promotional stance” in the third quarter. Total sales over the period rose 3.3 per cent.

But the group added that like-for-like store sales dropped 3.4 per cent in the five weeks to Christmas Eve, while online revenue plummeted 14.3 per cent.

Boss Helen Connolly said the firm is on track to meet profit expectations for the full year of between £5 million and £7m.

However, she also flagged lacklustre online revenue and uncertain trading conditions.

She said: “Given the backdrop of the current trading environment, our third quarter store sales were satisfactory, particularly in light of the business still being in the early stages of its turnaround. The online performance was poor, and this continues to be a key area of focus.

“The product gross margin for the quarter was 2.2 per cent higher than for the corresponding period… due to a lower level of promotional activity than in the previous year.”

Connolly, who took up the role last year, added there remains a “degree of uncertainty” regarding trading conditions on the high street.

Nick Bubb, independent retailing analyst and consultant, said: “The update today from the struggling Bonmarche fashion chain for the 13 weeks to 24 Dec is a bit late in the day, but they would have said something by now if things were off course and investors will be relieved to see that there is no profit warning.”

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