Will this be the next retailer to quit Norwich?

PUBLISHED: 09:13 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:56 19 March 2019

Bonmarche has said it has seen significantly weaker trading since the start of the month.

Bonmarche has said it has seen significantly weaker trading since the start of the month.

Archant © 2012

Another high street retailer has warned over worse-than-expected losses with profits tanking this month.

Womenswear retailer Bonmarche has said it has seen “significantly weaker” trading since the start of the month.

The chain had been seeing a bounceback in January and February after it resorted to heavy discounting to shift stock.

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The retailer has four stores across Norfolk, in King’s Lynn, Dereham, Great Yarmouth and on St Stephens Street in Norwich.

It also has a store on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, in Lowestoft.

The group warned that it believes sales are likely to remain under pressure throughout March.

It now expects underlying pre-tax losses of between £5m and £6m for the year to the end of March.

This compares with the £4m annual loss previously pencilled in at the time of its December profit warning.

Whether these profit tanks spell store closures, as the retail downturn has for other competitors, is not yet known.

The company said: “We believe that the recent downturn in trading is a consequence of the demand for transitional ranges, between winter and spring, having been satisfied during January and February.

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“Although sales of spring season stock benefited from the spell of warm weather in late February, this is not yet a large enough part of the sales mix to compensate for the lower demand for transitional stock.”

But it said it remains on track with expectations for 2019-20 thanks to the “positive early reaction to the spring product”.

The warning comes after the December profit alert sent the firm’s shares crashing.

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