Bonmarché digital surges but store sales are weak

Bonmarché annual profits have soared as the value fashion retailer’s online sales, better denim offer and more strategic discounts boosted it despite tough high-street conditions.


Bonmarché


It's pre-tax profits rose an astonishing 38.1% to reach £8 million in the year to March 21, while underlying profits rose 27% to also sit at £8 million. As mentioned, a 34.5% surge in online sales was partly behind the improvement, despite sales in the company's physical stores being undeniably disappointing with a 4.5% drop in the like-for-like figure.

That latter fall meant that overall revenue actually dropped to £186 million from £190 million at the company that mainly targets the 50+ consumer.

The company blamed “external factors” for that fall, which was fair in the circumstances as so many of its retail peers also suffered from the poor weather early in the spring season, as well as from cautious consumers who saved rather than splurged.

But the firm said that the current financial year has started more strongly and it has bounced back from the slump that it saw over the Christmas period.

“We have made good progress in all areas, particularly online, where we have seen strong growth whilst also making improvements through a number of other self-help initiatives including the product proposition, the loyalty scheme and developing a more agile supply base,” CEO Helen Connolly said.

And of course, some of those self-help initiatives included a boost to the company's online operations. This certainly paid off and the jump in digital sales for the 52 weeks meant that online sales now make up 9.5% of total sales, up from 7% a year ago.

Other improvements included better quality denim which has boosted the company's position in this category, and bolstering customer service with features such as in-store ordering, a simplified loyalty scheme, and better in-store customer service during peak shopping hours.

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