UK value women's wear retailer Bonmarché Holdings has said its financial position remains sound as it revealed higher sales in its fourth-quarter and said full-year earnings remain on track.

For the 14 weeks ended 1 April, sales increased 2.7% on the prior year, boosted by a 15.2% increase in online sales thanks to an improvement in its offering. Like-for-like sales, however, were down 0.5% for the quarter.

Bonmarché said store like-for like sales were negative in January but stronger during February and March. For the full year, sales dropped 0.5%, while like-for-like sales were down 4.3%. Online sales for the 12 month period grew 2.2%.

For the 53 week period ended 1 April, pre-tax profit is expected to be slightly above the mid-point of the GBP5m to GBP7m range previously guided by the company. Results are expected to be published on 19 June.

"As anticipated, trading conditions post-Christmas continued to be challenging, but this was accounted for when we issued the revised profit guidance last September, and therefore the final result for the year is in line with our expectations," said CEO Helen Connolly.

"Whilst we expect the apparel market to remain challenging during the coming financial year, we are actively taking measures to improve our proposition to customers. We remain confident that Bonmarché remains unique in its ability to serve the needs of its target market and that the successful implementation of our plan will allow us to deliver growth in FY18, despite the challenging market."