Although a round of cold weather has helped shift the clothes that Bonmarché struggled to sell during the mild weather in November and December, the fashion retailer cited that UK consumer confidence “does not appear buoyant”.
CEO Beth Butterwick said it was “cautious” about the rest of the year.
The fashion chain, aimed at women aged over 50, issued a profit warning last December. Sales grew 5.2% in the quarter to March 26 but the market is tough.
“Post-Christmas, trading conditions have continued to be quite challenging, with the exception of January where we saw a higher than average demand for autumn/winter Sale stock,” said Butterwick.
“Although helpful in clearing these ranges, the continued colder weather has been unhelpful in kick-starting real demand for spring products. Given that context, I believe that the provisional results represent a creditable performance.
Our financial position continues to remain healthy and our final autumn/winter terminal stock position has ended better than expected, and lower than last year. Our expectation is that trading conditions will remain challenging, and therefore our outlook for full-year 2017 result is cautious.”
Butterwick is currently serving notice until she takes on her new role as CEO at Karen Millen. Last week Helen Connolly, who is currently senior buying director for Asda’s George clothing business, was named as Butterwick’s successor. She will join the fashion chain later this year.