Cold snaps driving sales at Bonmarche

Over 50s fashion chain Bonmarche has reported strong sales of beach and resort wear as shoppers go on a holiday spending spree to beat the freezing UK weather.

Bonmarche customers have welcomed the retailer's new ranges

As the country prepares for more icy weather caused by ‘The Beast from the East 3’ over the Easter weekend, the Wakefield-based budget fashion chain said beach and resort wear were the best performing departments during the last two cold snaps.

A red, one shoulder swim suit was the best-selling ​garment during the recent Arctic weather.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

It appears that many shoppers are preparing for their holidays from the comfort of their own homes rather than face icy weather as 70 per cent of swimwear sales were online.

Helen Connolly, CEO of Bonmarch​e, ​said:​ ​“Customers seem to have had enough of the harsh weather over the last few weeks.

​“​We saw a big lift in swimwear sales especially online, as people looked to escape the grip of the Beast from the East and head away to the sun.”

​Whilst trading on the high street is tough, Bonmarche has managed to take market share from rivals after updating its clothing ranges in a turnaround led by ​Ms Connolly.

As part of the range overhaul, Bonmarche has relaunched a higher quality, more authentic, denim range.

The new denim range features styles such as ‘Sara Straight Leg’ which offers everyday jeans with a comfort waistband, stretch fabric and four leg lengths and ‘Betty Bootcut’ which offers a slim fitting upper leg and a slight flare from the knee, which balances out the hips to create an even silhouette.

“Our denim range has seen 50 per cent year on year growth. Momentum has continued and denim is going from strength to strength,” said Ms Connolly.

Bonmarche is carrying out research with existing, loyal customers in the 50 to 64-year-old range to find out what they want to buy.

“They want flattering fits that make them look slimmer,” she said.

“Our customers are quite confident in their own style. They are comfortable in their own skin.

“There is an element of comfort, but their clothes are not boring.”

She predicts that two key trends this summer will be spots and stripes.

“We are selling wide legged trousers with vertical stripes and our ‘We wear the trousers’ hashtag has resonated with customers,” she said.

The group said customers also appreciate that they can buy three different trouser lengths in store and five lengths online.

“I’m proud of the fact our customers are more mature,” said Ms Connolly.

“They all think they are 10 to 15 years younger than they are.”