Bonmarche expects market to remain challenging

Helen Connolly chief executive of BonmarcheHelen Connolly chief executive of Bonmarche
Helen Connolly chief executive of Bonmarche
Over 50's clothing chain Bonmarche said it expected the clothing market to remain challenging over the next financial year, although it is taking steps to improve its proposition for customers.

In a trading update, Bonmarché revealed that sales for the 14 weeks ended April 1 2017 increased by 2.7 per cent against the corresponding period in 2016. Store like-for-like sales decreased by 0.5 per cent and online sales increased by 15.2 per cent.

Helen Connolly, the chief executive of the Wakefield-based chain, said: “As anticipated, trading conditions post-Christmas continued to be challenging, but this was accounted for when we issued the revised profit guidance last September, and therefore the final result for the year is in line with our expectations.

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“Store like-for like sales were negative in January but stronger during February and March, and we also saw the resumption of growth in online sales following improvements made to our online offering.

“Whilst we expect the apparel market to remain challenging during the coming financial year, we are actively taking measures to improve our proposition to customers.

“We remain confident that Bonmarché remains unique in its ability to serve the needs of its target market and that the successful implementation of our plan will allow us to deliver growth in FY18 (full year 2018), despite the challenging market.”

Ms Connolly joined Bonmarche last year. She is a former senior buying director for George at Asda, where she was responsible for all women’s clothing, non-clothing and male and female essentials.

She was formerly head of sourcing for womenswear and girlswear from China, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka at Next and she has also worked within Arcadia Group as head of buying at Dorothy Perkins.