Shares in Bonmarché have taken a beating after the value womenswear retailer reported a slump in Christmas sales amid what it called a “challenging” clothing market.
During its quarterly update for the 13 week period ending December 30, in-store like-for-like sales took a sharp decline of 9.7 per cent while total sales dropped 5.5 per cent.
Shares in the retailer dropped by 21 per cent following the the trading update.
“The clothing market became more challenging during this quarter, especially on the high street; consequently our store like-for-like was disappointing,” chief executive Helen Connolly said.
Bonmarche warned that there “remains uncertainty” around trading conditions this year, especially the weather’s “effect on consumer shopping behaviour”.
While it joins a growing list of retailers to have reported disappointing Christmas sales, Bonmarche did not revise down its full-year profit expectations.
During the quarter, it adjusted its stock purchasing plans and reduced discounting, resulting in a “slight improvement” in profit margins.
The chain was also positive about its online performance, where sales rose 28.5 per cent in the quarter and 35.5 per cent in its fiscal year so far.
The retailer said: “Looking further ahead, whilst we expect the market to remain difficult, we have a number of self-help initiatives in progress or planned for 2019 which are expected to deliver profitable like-for-like sales growth in stores, and the continuation of strong sales growth online.”