Over-50’s womenswear retailer Bonmarche reported strong online sales over Christmas although store sales growth was hit by the warm autumnal weather.
The Wakefield-based group said like-for-like stores sales in the five weeks to December 27 rose 3.9 per cent, a credible performance in a difficult market, but down from the 6.4 per cent growth seen in the 39 weeks to December 27.
Like other retailers, the group was hit by a lack of demand for coats, jackets and jumpers during the mild weather in October, November and December.
However its fast expanding online business saw stellar growth, rising 41.3 per cent in the five weeks to December 27 and up by 44.4 per cent in the 39 weeks to December 27.
The group has been boosted by the introduction of more contemporary styles as women over 50 demand more stylish, fashionable ranges.
Combining online sales growth with the like-for-like figure resulted in growth of 6.1 per cent in the five weeks to December 27 and 8.6 weeks for the year so far.
By the end of December the group had 282 stores, up from 264 stores at the end of 2013.
Bonmarche’s CEO Beth Butterwick said: “We are satisfied with Bonmarche’s Q3 performance in a challenging, promotionally-driven market.
“Gross margins remained under pressure, but we continued to make positive like-for-like sales gains. Much of the challenge in the clothing market was due to the prolonged mild weather, which began in September and continued until mid-December.“
The group said it believes the year’s performance will be in line with its expectations.