Profits slump 40% at womenswear retailer Bonmarche

Womenswear retailer Bonmarche has reported a slump in full-year profits as Brexit pressures and unseasonal weather contributed to a 'challenging' retail market.
Bonmarche saw its annual profits tumble about 40%. Picture: Alan WatsonBonmarche saw its annual profits tumble about 40%. Picture: Alan Watson
Bonmarche saw its annual profits tumble about 40%. Picture: Alan Watson

The group said pre-tax profits tumbled about 40 per cent to £5.8 million in the year to April, with like-for like-sales falling 4.3 per cent.

It said: “The apparel market has been in decline, with demand affected by consumers’ response to factors such as inflation, the referendum on Brexit, and unseasonal weather patterns, which, as we have noted in the past, significantly influence our customers’ shopping habits.”

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The collapse in the value of the pound following the decision to quit the European Union has hammered British businesses and consumers, ramping up import costs and, as a result, shop prices.

Total revenue at Bonmarche nudged up 1 per cent to £190.1m, while the firm said the recommend final dividend was 4.64p per share, bringing the total for the year to 7.14p.

Chief executive Helen Connolly, who took up her role last year, 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. It is clear that the direction of travel is broadly right, albeit the effectiveness of execution needs to improve.”

Connolly added that today’s update “provides further detail on the areas where we see the greatest opportunities and how we are already beginning to address these”.

But retailing analyst and consultant Nick Bubb said the results statement “doesn’t give much away about prospects for the year ahead”.

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