Listed retailer sees 8% drop in pre-Christmas trading

Listed retailer sees 8% drop in pre-Christmas trading

Womenswear retailer Bonmarché saw overall sales drop 8.1% in the three months to 29 December 2018.

The Wakefield-headquartered firm this morning issued a trading update for the 13 and 39 week periods ended 29 December 2018. Overall, sales in the 39 weeks to December dropped 2.7%.

It is sales within high street stores that are being hit the hardest, with an 11.1% drop in the 13 weeks up to Christmas and 6.4% drop for the 39 week period. However, online sales for the group grew 22% and 26% respectively.

This morning’s trading update follows a decision in December by the retailer to adjust its forecasts after suffering an extremely poor trading period up to Black Friday.

Bon Marche added: “Gross margin during the period remained in line with revised forecasts and were below last year due to additional discounting and expected exchange rate headwinds.”

It said that its winter sale had begun well and that it continued to trade in line with the revised guidance given in December.

Helen Connolly, Chief Executive said: “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.

“Looking forward, the Board remains confident in Bonmarché’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.”