Sales of Bonmarchés autumn ranges have been hurt by "unseasonably hot weather"

Sales of Bonmarché's autumn ranges have been hurt by "unseasonably hot weather"

UK value women's wear retailer Bonmarché Holdings has issued a profit warning after "unseasonably hot weather" hurt sales of its autumn ranges.

The retailer, which targets women aged over 50, says its full year profit before tax is likely to fall within a range between GBP5.0m and GBP7.0m (US$6.5m and US$9.0m).

Today's update (21 September) comes after the company also experienced difficult trading conditions in July and August, when poor weather was blamed for poor demand for its summer fashions.

Bonmarché had expected trading to normalise through the autumn season, but now says September was "extremely poor, largely as a consequence of the unseasonably hot weather which has not favoured sales of our new autumn ranges."

It adds: "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."

Store like-for-like sales for both the second quarter and first half are expected to fall by 8.0%.

On its outlook for the rest of FY17, the retailer says: "We approach the beginning of the second half of the year facing considerable uncertainty as to market conditions. The hot September has prevented us from gaining a representative measure of the strength of the autumn ranges, and our perception is that the clothing market generally has become more challenging."

"I was attracted to Bonmarché by its potential to grow as a business serving the 50 plus women's value clothing market," says chief executive Helen Connolly, who stepped into the role last month.

"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 therefore likely to focus on improving the clarity of the customer proposition and operational improvements in all channels rather than a major strategic repositioning."