• Full-year earnings fall to £9.6m
  • Sales up 5.3% to £188m
  • Conditions rem

Womenswear retailer Bonmarché has posted a fall in full-year earnings after suffering amid tough trading conditions.

Bonmarché, which issued a profit warning before Christmas reported pre-tax profits of £9.6m, down from £12.4m the previous year.

Sales advanced 5.3% to £188m in the year to March 26, when store like-for-likes edged up 0.7% and online revenues climbed 3.6%.

The retailer described last year as “unusually difficult”. Bonmarché was hit by by unseasonable weather, which exacerbated a difficult trading environment and put shoppers off making seasonal purchases.

Bonmarché reported that continued poor weather meant the new financial year has got off to a tough start and cautioned that performance expectations are “unchanged provided trading conditions normalise”.

Bonmarché chief executive Beth Butterwick, who is leaving to run fashion specialist Karen Millen, said: ”Bonmarché’s performance for the year has been achieved amidst the difficult trading conditions widely reported across the retail sector.

”We have emerged from this period with a clear focus on our five key strategic pillars for growth. With significant improvements for the benefits of our customer, we are focused on driving our modernisation plan over the coming year.

”We firmly believe that with its unique position as a niche retailer, focused on catering for the mature female demographic, Bonmarché is well placed for the future.”

Over the course of the year the retailer said it had increased the number of active and “high-value, high loyal” Bonus Club members, improved size availability and opened in 20 new locations.

Bonmarché has focused particularly on “de-weathering” clothing such as coats and knitwear to adapt to unpredicable weather.