Bonmarche blames BHS and the weather for sales hit

Helen Cahill
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The company said hot weather had hit sales (Source: Getty)

Womenswear retailer Bonmarche has blamed the weather and BHS for its declining sales.

The company said this morning that like-for-like sales were down 8.6 per cent, which could be in part attributed to the clearance of BHS' stock ahead of the store closing down.

Bonmarche also said the weather "was a major variable" in its poor performance in the first half.

The figures

Bonmarche's revenue for the 26 weeks to 24 September was £93.1m, down four per cent from £97m in the period.

Like-for-like store sales were down 8.6 per cent and profit before tax came in at £2m, a drop of 63 per cent from £5.4m.

The company's share price fell 2.86 per cent in morning trading on the news.

Why it's interesting

BHS went into administration in April and has been clearing its shelves at knock-down prices throughout the summer, which Bonmarche said had pulled customers away from its stores.

The bargain clothes retailer issues a profit warning in September, citing "unseasonably hot weather" for its performance.

Today, however, the company also identified internal factors for its failings, saying that using too many Chinese factories meant it could not react quickly to changing seasonable demand. Bonmarche also said it had been repeating products, which had hurt sales.

The retailer has also opted for a new focus on its customer, simplifying its customer profile from four women ("Susan", "Linda", "Margaret" and "Joan") to one ("Lisa").

What Bonmarche said

Bonmarche's chief executive Helen Connolly said that "despite the difficult trading conditions" the company would return to growth in 2018.

She added: "I believe that Bonmarche has significant potential to grow as a retailer serving the 50 plus women's value clothing market, a belief that has strengthened with my continued exposure to the business.

"Work has already begun to modernise and simplify our operations and improve basic disciplines - key foundations for the more strategic priorities of developing the customer proposition and improving customer journeys."

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