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Bonmarché new chief executive gives first hints to strategic cross-channel approach

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Incoming Bonmarché chief executive Helen Connolly this week gave her first clues as to how she plans to develop the value clothing brand’s approach to multichannel trading.

Connolly said the brand was going in the right direction but that she aimed to improve the execution of its strategy.

“I was attracted to Bonmarché by its potential to grow as a business serving the 50 plus women’s value clothing market,” she said. “My early impressions of the business have underpinned this, and I am currently formulating my plans for the future. The direction of travel is right, but the effectiveness of execution needs to improve. My plans are likely to focus on improving the clarity of the customer proposition and operational improvements in all channels rather than a major strategic repositioning.”

The update came as the retailer said in a trading update that hot weather had made trading conditions difficult in September – and may hit profits in the year ahead.

“Notwithstanding difficult trading conditions in July and August, overall performance was in line with management’s expectations for the full year,” she said. “However, trading in September has been extremely poor, largely as a consequence of the unseasonably hot weather which has not favoured sales of our new autumn ranges.

“The hot weather conditions have resulted in the strong sales of residual summer stock however, and this will result in an end of season summer stock holding which is below last year’s level, despite the generally poor summer season.

“Nonetheless, we currently estimate that the store like-for-like (“LFL”) sales result for Q2 will be approximately -8.0%, and the LFL for the first half-year will also be approximately -8.0%.”

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