Bonmarché today bucked the wider retail trend by reporting a fall in online sales over the Christmas period.
The women's value retailer said that its online sales fell by 2.4% in the five weeks to December 26. Total sales rose by 1.7% over that Christmas period, although store only like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, fell by 2.7%, and like-for-like combined with online sales were down by 2.7%.
In the longer third quarter, the 13 weeks to December 26, total sales rose by 3.4% and online sales were up by 3.9%. But store-only like-for-like sales were down by 1.3%, taking the combination of like-for-like and online down by 0.8%.
Chief executive Beth Butterwick said November and December trading conditions were "very challenging" and as a result, the board had revised its profit expectations for the current financial year.
She added: "In the short period since Christmas, demand has trended towards more normal levels. The board's view of the expected outcome for the year is unchanged and it therefore reiterates its expectation that the profit-before-tax will be within the range of £10.5m to £12.0m."
In the year-to-date, the 39 weeks to December 26, total sales were up by 5.3%. Online rose by 4.1%, with like-for-like sales also up – by 0.8%. The combination of store like-for-likes and online sales was up by 1.1% over that longer period.