Bonmarche Fights Back by Going Online
Budget womenswear store Bonmarche has seen a rise in sales leading up to April 1, 2017, after disappointing results in September. The first quarter of the year saw a 15.2% increase in online sales. This is hugely important, as overall physical sales have continued to drop, by 0.5% year on year.
New figures have revealed that budget womenswear store Bonmarche, has started to make a comeback, mainly thanks to online sales. In September 2016, they released figures demonstrating a nearly 50% drop in pre-tax sales profits, as well as a drop in revenue. Equipped with a new CEO, however, the store seems to be making a comeback, in particular thanks to an increase in their online presence.
The newly released figures show a conflicting and confusing picture, although this is normal in the industry. What is known is that:
- There was a 2.4% drop in sales in Bonmarche physical stores.
- There was a 14.8% raise in sales through their online sales.
- Total sales were therefore only up by 0.7%, but that is still a significant increase when you compare the fact that there was an over 50% drop in sales in September 2016.
Financial experts are also looking at how Bonmarche is likely to perform year on year. So far, however, this does still paint a negative picture, with a 1.8% rise in online sales, and a 4.7% drop in physical sales. This translates into a 0.9% drop in total sales. Again, however, compared to the past year, this means the store is actually recovering to a degree.
Overall, it looks as if Bonmarche has turned somewhat of a corner, getting a lot of things right that it got horribly wrong the year before. And what is perhaps even more important, is that the greatest rises in sales have all took place in the last few months. With new CEO Helen Connolly at its helm, it seems the company has turned a page in its own book.
A representative from Bonmarche says: “There is always a degree of uncertainty when you get a new CEO. This is coupled with the fact that our greatest competitor, BHS, went into administration, yet we still had a 50% drop in pre-tax profits. People were worried, and understandably so. However, Helen has taken charge really well, and people have a lot of trust and faith in her.”
The new CEO, meanwhile, indicated that trading is always more challenging and difficult just after the Christmas period. As a result, most stores report negative sales figures through the month of January. However, the sales figures for Bonmarche in both February and March were very strong, and this could be one of the first indicators that good growth is set to return to the Yorkshire-based retailer. The representative adds: “We’ve seen a particularly large growth in the number of online sales, particularly now that we have cut menswear from our selection and added a range of new, modern womenswear instead.”
According to preliminary sales reports, Bonmarche expects that their pre-tax profits will be slightly higher than they were the year before, although not back up to what they were the year prior to that. In September 2016, Bonmarche revealed a £2 million slump in profits, down to £5 million from £7 million, and it aims to have recovered at least some of that now. The results will be made official on June 19, 2017.
The representative said: “We at Bonmarche remain optimistic but also realistic. The markets are challenging, but we believe that we can achieve growth in fiscal year 2018.”