Investors are hailing a turnaround at embattled retailer Bonmarche, as it issued a promising set of fourth quarter figures in its full-year results today.
For the 53 weeks ending 1 April, store like-for-like sales dropped 4.3 per cent, and online sales grew 2.2 per cent.
However, it appeared things were improving for the retailer towards the end of the year. In the final 14 weeks of the year, Bonmarche's like-for-like sales fell by 0.5 per cent, and its online sales grew by a healthy 15.2 per cent.
The board said that profit before tax would come in just above the mid-point of its forecast of between £5m and £7m profit.
Why it's interesting
In September last year, Bonmarche's share price plunged 30 per cent when it issued a profit warning due to "extremely poor" trading. The business was hampered by hot weather, making it difficult to sell off its autumn stock.
Today, however, Bonmarche was awarded a vote of confidence from investors. At time of writing, its share price was up 4.79 per cent to just under 79p.
Investec analyst Kate Calvert said the company had "delivered a solid fourth quarter", and that although the turnaround was still in the early days, online sales were positive once again and the board confirmed Bonmarche would reach the upper half of its profit guidance. She gave Bonmarche a "buy" rating with a target price of 130p.
"We expect the shares to re-rate over time as management delivers on better execution and returns the business back to sustainable growth," she said.
What the company said
Helen Connolly, chief executive of Bonmarche, 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.
"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."