Shares in the discount fashion group Bonmarché Holdings (LON:BON) were marked 9% higher in early trade as the City applauded the juggling act performed by chief executive Helen Connolly in simultaneously growing sales and profit margins.
Reiterating its full-year profit guidance of £5-7mln, the company said like-for-like sales rose 0.8% in the 13 weeks ended December 24. At the same time the gross margin advanced 2.2%.
Focusing in on the five weeks to before Christmas and the performance was less than stellar with same-store sales down 3.4% and online revenues off more than 14%.
CEO Connolly said: "Given the backdrop of the current trading environment, our third quarter store sales were satisfactory, particularly in light of the business still being in the early stages of its turnaround.
“The online performance was poor, and this continues to be a key area of focus.”
At 8.15am, the share were up 7.4p at 87.4p.