Bonmarche has revised its full-year profit guidance

Bonmarche has revised its full-year profit guidance

Bonmarché CEO Beth Butterwick is to step down from the UK women's wear retailer to join Karen Millen as chief executive amid a "very challenging" December.

Since joining Bonmarché four years ago, Butterwick has led the business through a transformative period, through the acquisition by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners in 2012, the IPO on AIM in 2013, and most recently its transition to the London Stock Exchange's Main Market as one of the UK's largest women's value retailers. 

A search for Butterwick's replacement is underway. She will remain with the group until a successor is appointed to ensure a smooth transition. 

Bonmarché said trading conditions this month, particularly since Black Friday, have been "very challenging", and have not normalised. 

The company expects these conditions to continue for the remainder of the winter season, and has revised its full-year guidance, predicting pre-tax profit to range from GBP10.5m (US$15.8m) to GBP12m.

Investec analyst Kate Calvert said: "While good progress has been made modernising & repositioning the business, this warning is likely to raise questions over the robustness of the brand proposition. 

"The market backdrop has been unhelpful, but we like Bonmarché's niche in the 50+ women's wear value market & see a number of growth opportunities via product and range development; new store growth & developing channels (online & concessions) channels."