Bonmarche Holdings PLC (LON:BON) saw its shares drop almost 25% today after the value womenswear retailer reported a sharp fall in third-quarter same-store sales over the key Christmas period.
In a trading update for the 13 weeks ended December 30, the FTSE small cap firm said its total sales fell by 5.5% year-on-year, with store like-for-like sales falling by 9.7% but online sales increasing by 29%.
Over the key Christmas trading period, comprising five weeks to the same date, Bonmarche’s total sales fell by 6.2%, with a 10.4% drop in store like-for-likes but a 39% rise in online sales.
Bonmarche said its third quarter was characterised by difficult market conditions, leading to an adjustment in its stock purchasing plans, reduction of discounting and tightened cost controls.
In the year-to-date, the retailer’s total sales were up 0.9%, with a 2.8% fall in store like-for-likes and a 36% rise in online sales.
The group said its profit expectations for the year ending March 31 remained unchanged despite the third quarter decline.
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Bonmarche’s chief executive officer, Helen Connolly said: “The clothing market became more challenging during this quarter, especially on the high street; consequently our store LFL was disappointing.“
She added: “There remains uncertainty as to how trading conditions will evolve as we enter our final quarter. We do not anticipate material changes in the underlying market conditions, and in this short term outlook, the weather represents the most significant uncertainty due to its effect on consumer shopping behaviour, with the risks equally weighted on the up and downsides.”
In early morning trading, Bonmarche shares were down 24%, or 30.5p at 96p.