Written by: Keith Tully
Reviewed: Monday 18th March, 2019
The womenswear retailer Bonmarche has warned that its financial figures for the current year will be worse than previously estimated as a result of “significantly weaker” trading in recent weeks.
Previous forecasts for the business were that it would record losses worth around £4 million for the full year 2018/19 but that estimate has now had to be revised down substantially.
Expectations within the business are that Bonmarche will soon be reporting losses worth somewhere between £5 million and £6 million for the year.
The retailer has said that its performance over the Christmas period meant it remained on course to report losses of around £4 million but the weakened sales figures in more recent weeks have put that prospect out of reach.
Speaking in December last year, Bonmarche’s chief executive Helen Connolly suggested that trading conditions for retailers in the UK of late have been “significantly worse even than during the recession of 2008/09”.
A growing number of retailers are being required to find alternative financing arrangements as their abilities to deliver sustainable sales and profit levels are gradually eroding in the face of challenging economic headwinds.
Bonmarche issued profit warnings in September and December of last year, with sales performance during Black Friday week, ending November 24th, described officially by the company as being “extremely poor”.
That poor performance was in evidence particularly at Bonmarche stores across the country, with consumer behaviour in late November described as “not following last year’s pattern, nor the pattern of any year we have experienced previously”.
“We believe that uncertainty surrounding Brexit is a significant factor affecting demand and, therefore, that it may not strengthen until the current period of heightened uncertainty ends,” the company said in a December trading statement.
Its latest trading update says that Bonmarche’s bank facility should be enough to meet liquidity requirements, even if its losses for the year to the end of March get close £6 million.
There are more than 300 Bonmarche outlets throughout the UK and the company employs close to 2,600 people around the country.
Bonmarche was sold to the private equity group Sun European Partners by its former owner, the Peacocks fashion business, in January 2012.
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