Bonmarché has warned that full-year profits would come in below previous expectations following a “downturn in store trading” during its second quarter.
The embattled fashion chain noted in July that trading in the first three months of its financial year had been “encouraging” and “significantly better” than the end of 2017/18.
At the time, Bonmarché said it would achieve further profit growth in its current fiscal year.
However, in an unscheduled trading update Bonmarché said today that, despite “strong” growth in online sales, its stores “have not maintained momentum” from its first quarter.
The retailer blamed “weaker” consumer demand for the high street for “impacting footfall”, and said that warm weather “may have delayed demand for early autumn stock”.
As a result, Bonmarché said pre-tax profit for its full year was now expected to come in at about £5.5m, compared to £8m in 2017/18.
Amid the tough trading environment, Bonmarché will also reduce operating expenditure “where appropriate” following a review.
The retailer said it had taken the “measured view… so as not to jeopardise the ability of the Company to implement improvements designed to deliver growth in future years”.
Bonmarché chief executive Helen Connolly said: “These are undoubtedly challenging times in the retail industry and, in common with many other businesses, Bonmarché’s store trading has been impacted by weaker consumer sentiment and footfall.
“We have continued to improve our proposition, particularly our digital capabilities, reflected in the strong online sales. We remain focussed on exploiting the opportunity afforded by the increasing demand for online shopping, whilst modernising the store offer and customer experience.”
Connolly insisted that pre-tax profit would be in line with the £8m achieved last year were it not for currency exchange headwinds. She added: “The board remains confident in the strategy set out in our FY18 results, and in the company’s long-term prospects.”