Fashion retailer Bonmarche has boosted its pre-tax profits by 38.1 per cent thanks to strong online sales and cost cutting offsetting a ‘disappointing’ high street performance.
The group’s profits rose to £8million for the year to March 31. On an underlying basis, profits were also up 27 per cent at £8m.
Online sales soared 34.5 per cent in contrast to high street sales which fell 4.5 per cent.
Strong sales: Fashion retailer Bonmarche has boosted its pre-tax profits by 38.1% thanks to strong online sales and cost cutting offsetting a ‘disappointing’ high street performance
The group said that trading since the year-end had also been stronger so far after poor Christmas trading prompted its share price to plunge.
However, it blamed ‘external factors’ for a particularly poor high street performance in October, December and March, with the Beast from the East taking its toll in the final quarter.
Bonmarche’s chief executive Helen Connolly said: ‘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.
‘Whilst we expect the market to remain difficult, trading since the beginning of the new financial year has been stronger than during the second half of full-year 2017-18.
’We have a clear strategy in place to continue to improve our proposition, which we expect to do during the full-year 2019 and beyond.
‘We remain confident that with its unique offering, aimed at fashion and value conscious women, Bonmarche is well positioned for future growth.’
Bonmarche, which was founded in 1982, has been revamping its online offering after poor website sales in 2016-17, making it more customer-friendly and improving its marketing tactics.
Profit pain: Debenhams slashed its profit expectations for the third time this year after ‘increased competitor discounting and weakness in key markets’ knocked sales
The group also overhauled its supplier base over the past year and cut costs where possible to counter difficult retail conditions and a hit from the weak pound, which pushed up buying costs.
It has been a tough year so far for high street traders with many reporting huge losses.
Today Debenhams slashed its profit expectations for the third time this year after ‘increased competitor discounting and weakness in key markets’ knocked sales in May and early June.
Under review: Retailer New Look announced last week that its ambitious plans to open 500 new stores in China were under review as the company battles woes on the UK High Street
This resulted in ‘below plan’ trading for the 15 weeks to June 16, on the back of already weak numbers.
The news sent its shares reeling, falling by 16 per cent as the market opened.
Fellow fashion chain New Look also announced last week that its ambitious plans to open 500 new stores in China were under review as the company battles woes on the UK High Street.
Former boss Anders Kristiansen, 51, wanted to build a sprawling store portfolio in the Asian powerhouse, but new executive chairman Alistair McGeorge has his sights on downsizing instead.
It’s a gloomy economic outlook also with a slowdown in consumer spending and a weak Brexit-hit pound, while the Bank of England is expected to hold interest rates at 0.5 per cent this week.
Shares in Bonmarche were up 7.5 per cent at 110p in today’s early trading.