Thursday 13 December 2018 8:49 am

Bonmarche shares tank after it slashes profits, blaming Brexit for bleak high street trading

Retailer Bonmarche lost nearly half its value this morning after investors sold out following a bleak profit warning.

Its share price fell 45 per cent this morning after the markets opened. Having closed on 80p last night, shares were trading at 44p this morning.

The retailer said its Black Friday sales were “extremely poor” and had not recovered despite the introduction of extensive discounts.

“We have concluded that sales will not recover to normal levels in the short term, and that it is appropriate to make a further revision to the forecast,” the company said.

Bonmarche is now projecting underlying profit before tax to range between breaking even and a loss of £4m for the current financial year.

Its previous forecast of £5.5m underlying profit before tax depended on sales meeting expectations in the trading period between Black Friday and Christmas.

The company said it believes Brexit uncertainty is a “significant factor affecting demand” and has therefore assumed sales will not significantly improve before the end of March 2019 in its forecasts.

Chief executive Helen Connolly said: "The current trading conditions are unprecedented in our experience and are significantly worse even than during the recession of 2008-9. I hope that in the fullness of time, our cut to the forecast may prove to have been overdone, but in the current market, this seems the appropriate stance to adopt.

"I believe that Bonmarche is well prepared to weather the storm, and that we can look forward to some recovery in financial year 2020. Accordingly, the board remains confident in the strategy, and in the company's long-term prospects."