The eponymous chain benefited from continuing customer interest in value womenswear and footwear, and from the ongoing refurbishment programme. The project saw a further 12 stores refitted during the quarter.
Bonmarché continued to disappoint, however, as aggressive discounting and a demand for higher fashion content within the mature womenswear market ramped up competition for the brand. The retailer admitted that some elements of the product offer didn't match the demand for fashionability, and lacked key customer appeal. The group said it was focussing on developing classic ranges, and on creating improved contemporary ranges to react a change in core customer tastes. It has also announced the appointment of Jennifer Greenacre as Bonmarché buying director. She joins in April from BMB Apparel, the clothing distributor run by Jaeger owner Harold Tillman.
Commenting on the trading figures, Peacock Group chief executive Richard Kirk said: 'While we remain confident that Bonmarché can return to growth, given the action we have taken, the board is of the view that the anticipated improvement in the performance of that business will take longer to come through than had been hoped. Therefore, despite strong trading elsewhere, [the board] has thought it prudent to reduce internal profit forecasts by£4 million for the full year.'