• Bonmarché half-year profits fall 15.6%
  • Like-for-likes and total sales both rise during the period
  • Retailer invests in stores, supply chain and online business


Bonmarché has reported a 15.6% drop in half-year profits after re-investing cash into opening new stores and improving its supply chain.

The retailer said pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks ending September 26 fell to £5.4m from £6.4m last year, despite a 2% increase in like-for-like store sales. Overall like-for-like sales increased 2.2% after online sales reported a 4.25% uplift.

Total sales grew 6.5% to £97m during the period.

But Bonmarché said underlying operating costs increased as it added new space, opening eight net new solus stores and concessions. It is also investing in “modernising” its store fascias with new branding poised to roll out to 140 stores by the year end.

During the period Bonmarché said further cash was ploughed into launching an improved delivery service to its stores, piloting a new TV advertising campaign and hiring a clutch of new senior personnel to strengthen its marketing and multichannel operations.

The retailer also launched a fully responsive website in July and incurred higher costs of “paid search advertising” after customer traffic from SEO was “adversely affected” by the switch to the new ecommerce site.

Bonmarché chief executive Beth Butterwick said: “Bonmarché’s performance for the first half of the year has been satisfactory and we have made further progress against our strategic objectives.

“I am pleased with the improvement in store like-for-like sales, which is a testament to the value of our loyal customer base, in a market which remains challenging. I am also pleased with the progress being made by the new marketing and multichannel teams to turn around online sales.

“Trading conditions during November have been challenging, due to very mild, wet weather. Our expectations for the full year remain unchanged, provided that trading conditions normalise for the remainder of the financial year.”