Bonmarche has recorded a mixed bag in its latest trading update, with sales increasing in the third quarter but online performance was poor and overall sales for the year to date have declined.
Sales at the womenswear retailer for the 13 weeks to December 24 went up by 3.3 per cent compared to the period a year ago, while like-for-like sales increased by 0.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, sales for the 39 weeks to December 24 dipped by 1.3 per cent and store like-for-like sales decreased by 5.3 per cent.
The retailer took a less promotional stance throughout the third quarter and while this had an impact on overall sales volumes, it led to a product gross margin that was 2.2 per cent higher year-on-year.
“Given the backdrop of the current trading environment, our third quarter store sales were satisfactory, particularly in light of the business still being in the early stages of its turnaround,” Bonmarche chief executive Helen Connolly said.
“The online performance was poor, and this continues to be a key area of focus.
“Customers have responded well to the improved, more modern ranges in our core autumn/winter product categories of coats and knitwear.
“This was helped by more seasonally appropriate weather during the quarter, which strengthened demand and to some degree counterbalanced the weakness we are experiencing in the apparel market.”
Connolly added that there “remains a degree of uncertainty as to trading conditions” as Bonmarche enters its final quarter.
Despite this, it believed full year forecasts would be in line with previous expectations.