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Bonmarché reinvents itself as a multichannel retailer

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Womenswear retailer Bonmarché is reinventing itself as a multichannel trader in the hands of its new owners.

Sun European Partners, which also owns the Alexon and Jacques Vert brands, bought Bonmarché out of administration earlier this year. Now, looking to more sustainable growth for the brand, the retailer has introduced a multichannel strategy to target its demographic of over-50s buying larger sizes.

Wakefield-based Bonmarché, which was founded in 1982, now trades from an ecommerce site alongside more than 270 stores. The new Bonmarché site is built on the Venda ecommerce platform and uses features including Venda Interactive Merchandising and Venda Imageware.

Katherine Scott, head of multichannel at Bonmarché, said: “The sale of Bonmarché presented the perfect opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves online, representing a fantastic opportunity for sustainable growth in a highly competitive womenswear market.

“Venda’s platform has offered us a pioneering ecommerce solution that can grow with our business and will enable us to keep Bonmarché at the forefront of consumer minds by creating a more engaging, customer-friendly and convenient shopping experience.”

Eric Abensur, group chief executive at Venda, said Bonmarché had identified a “real opportunity for growth”. “In this day and age, any retailer needs to have an effective ecommerce presence if it’s going to tap into the spending habits of the UK public,” he said. “Retailers that don’t evolve and embrace the ecommerce revolution could find themselves struggling to compete in an ever-competitive market.”

Our view: Reinvention as a multichannel or online trader has been the fate of more than one company that has gone out of business in recent years. Most notably, Woolworths, former doyenne of the high street, is now a pureplay, as is MFI. Certainly this story reminds us that ecommerce is now a crucial part of any modern retail business’ armoury, and the more convenient a retailer’s services, the better, for, as the ongoing failure of Comet shows, today survival rests not only on being online, but on having a joined-up multichannel service.

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