Online sales boost at value fashion chain Bonmarche

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Bonmarche, the value fashion chain that focuses on the over 50’s, reported strong growth in the run up to Christmas following a return to more stylish, flattering designs.

The Wakefield-based company, which raised £40m from its float on AIM in November, said it had asked the 6.5 million women who have signed up to its loyalty card to say what they wanted from the brand.

The answer was more stylish, fit-for-purpose clothing that felt modern, but with a more flattering, age-appropriate fit.

The group said like-for-like sales rose 4.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 28 and by 6.0 per cent in the five weeks to December 28.

It saw a big increase in online sales, which rose by an impressive 61 per cent over the quarter and by 70 per cent in the five weeks to December 28.

This led to sales growth of 7.0 per cent over the quarter and growth of 8.4 per cent in the five weeks to December 28.

Bonmarche’s chief executive Beth Butterwick said she was encouraged by the recent trading performance.

“The improvements in our autumn/winter ranges are a result of us listening to, and acting upon, all customer feedback,” she said.

The group has been boosted by the success of its collection by David Emanuel, the royal fashion designer who recently won Ant and Dec’s TV show I’m a celebrity...Get me out of here!.

Bonmarche has also seen the benefits of a new range of accessories to compliment its clothing ranges and a new specialist bra fitting service.

Ms Butterwick said she was particularly pleased with the group’s multi-channel growth.

“This is a result of investments we have made in improving the online shopping and fulfilment experiences, allowing customers to ‘shop their way’.

“This progress is evidence that the mature customer is embracing a combination of shopping channels.”

Bonmarche’s online success was echoed at plus-size retailer N Brown, which said its online sales now account for more than half of overall revenues as tablet computers take the place of traditional catalogues. N Brown owns Simply Be and Jacamo.

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