Bonmarché recorded a strong sales uplift, despite the wet weather at the beginning of the year, as a result of improvements across product and customer service.

Bonmarché revealed sales surged 11.8% and like-for-likes advanced 10.4% in the 52 weeks to March 29.

The value fashion retailer’s finance director, Steve Alldridge, said: “It’s great growth on last year and it will be clear that we set ourselves stretching targets.”

He said Bonmarché’s focus on the store experience through customer service and improvements across product and stock, as well as its improvement to its multichannel offer, helped to drive sales.

But he added: “It has not been a particularly kind second half for retail as a whole and from the clothing retail point of view it has been more unsettled than would have liked [due to the wet weather].”

Alldridge said Bonmarché traded “okay” despite the “monsoon” that hit the UK in January and February owing, in particular, to the sales across its basic clothing lines.

“Anecdotally, a lot of customers who were shopping in the rain tended to be going to get something out of necessity, such as underwear,” Aldridge explained.

He added that the retailer had a “storming” March particularly because of Mother’s Day.

He said the seven new store formats trialled before Christmas were not a big factor in the retailer’s performance.

“We learned a lot from those stores but they were not quite the right formula. We took lessons we learned from that and did another seven during March and we are now measuring the results,” he added and revealed that store growth will play a bigger part in the retailer’s growth strategy this year.