Bonmarche back on track

Shares in over 50's clothing chain'‹ '‹Bonmarche jumped almost 10 per cent on the news of a healthy pick up in sales as the group continues its turnaround.

Bonmarche customers have welcomed the retailer's new ranges

The Wakefield-based retailer said like-for-like sales rose 6.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to July 1, boosted by strong online growth.​

Total sales, including new stores, increased by 7.6 per cent. Store like-for-like sales increased by 4.2 per cent and online sales rose an impressive 39 per cent. The group’s shares closed up 8.5p at 98p.

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Bonmarche said trading during the first quarter of the new financial year was in line with the board’s expectations, which stay unchanged for the full year. The group said the financial position of the business remains sound.

Helen Connolly, chief executive of Bonmarche, said: “I am pleased with the improvement in trading and in particular the further progress in online sales. “Whilst we are in the early stages of implementing our strategy, I am encouraged by the positive response from customers to the developments in our ranges and the improvements we are making to the shopping experience.

“The improved sales performance during the first quarter, achieved in a clothing market which remains challenging, underpins our confidence in the strategy, and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”

Clothing retailers enjoyed a pick up in June due to the hot weather, but the sector is under extreme pressure as inflation rises at a time when wage growth is falling.

This is likely to hit spending on non-essential items like clothing over the coming months.

Bonmarche’s first quarter results are a big improvement on figures for the year to April 1, when store like-for-like sales fell 4.3 per cent and online sales rose just 2.2 per cent.