News Column

Bonmarche Reports Strong Set Of Maiden Results As Profit, Sales Grow

June 12, 2014

Rowena Harris-Doughty

LONDON (Alliance News) - UK women's clothing retailer Bonmarche Holdings PLC Friday reported strong profit and sales growth in its most recent financial year, driven by market share gains, price increases and growth in its online business.

In its maiden results as a listed company, the clothing retailer targeting women over 50 years old, reported a pretax profit of GBP11.2 million for the financial year ended March 29, up from GBP6.1 million a year earlier, as the company posted a 12% increase in revenues to GBP164.3 million from GBP146.8 million the prior year. Like-for-like sales also grew strongly, up more than 10%.

The retailer declared its first dividend of 2.1 pence per share for the year.

Bonmarche said sales and profits in the year were driven by successful product and price enhancements, an improved store estate, and, most importantly, growth online, as online sales rose 84%.

"We are encouraged by our start to the current financial year and the board remains positive about the outlook for the coming year," said Chief Executive Beth Butterwick in a statement.

Established in 1982, Bonmarche sells clothing and accessories in a wide range of sizes for women over 50 years old, via its own store portfolio, website, mail order catalogues, and through the Ideal World TV shopping channel. The company said its TV shopping channel represents only a small part of the sales mix, but is a valuable and low-cost way of marketing.

In the year just ended, the retailer said it increased its market share in the women's value sector to 3.2% from 2.8%.

Bonmarche has continued to invest in its multi-channel operations, such as improving online shopping and fulfilment experiences, and the addition of new, web exclusive product lines.

"The main drivers of this growth are the full year effect of the benefits of our 2012 website re-platform, growth of our e-mail database, and the recruitment of a new online digital marketing agency to increase our ability to attract new customers to our site," the company said in a statement.

It has also been improving its product ranges to drive sales in particular categories, raising prices and rationalising its supplier base.

"The store sales improvements have been driven by better ranges, and a number of measures to improve the environment including: the introduction of more mannequins, window display overhauls, improvements to our fitting rooms and the introduction of 'tub chairs' to increase dwell time," it added.

During the year, Bonmarche opened two concessions within garden centres operated by a third party. It said it will commence a significant roll-out of this concept in the current financial year.

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Source: Alliance News

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