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Bonmarché cites ‘challenging’ Christmas shopping period since Black Friday as it warns on profits

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Bonmarché shares were this morning trading 29% down after the value women’s retailer said challenging trading since the pre-Christmas online shopping season peaked on Black Friday meant pre-tax profits for the current year were likely be lower than last year.

At the same time chief executive Beth Butterwick announced her departure after four years in the post to become chief executive of Karen Millen. Bonmarché shares this morning stood at 209.9p, a 29% discount on the day’s opening price.

Chairman John Coleman said Butterwick had led the business through a “transformative period” including its acquisition and stock market flotation.

“Beth has imbued Bonmarché with a sense of energy and purpose and today the business is well-placed for long-term success, with a robust balance sheet, strong management and a carefully formulated growth strategy,” he said.

Today’s news comes just weeks after Bonmarché said weather conditions in November meant trading was challenging, and that disruption to its search engine optimisation following the installation of a new responsive website

Yesterday InternetRetailing reported predictions that retailers would bring forward Boxing Day sales in the light of poor Christmas trading since Black Friday, as shoppers had spent their budgets buying discounted goods.

Today Bonmarché, which is itself running a pre-Christmas sale, said in its trading statement that December’s trading conditions had not normalised, “particularly since Black Friday on 27 November”. It said: “The board’s view is that these trading conditions are likely to continue for the remainder of the winter season and it has therefore revised its profit expectations for the current financial year.”

Now it predicts pre-tax profits will come in at between £10.5m and £12m – down on the £12.4m pre-tax profits reported in the last financial year.

Bonmarché is a Top150 company in the IRUK Top500 research.

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