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Bargain women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché is still struggling to generate rising sales, reporting a slip in growth in its full year and warning of “challenging” market conditions ahead.

The womenswear group suffered a 4.3 per cent drop in like-for-like store sales in the year ending April 1 with total sales down 0.5 per cent, despite more of its customers now shopping online.

Bonmarché’s overall online sales are up 2.2 per cent in the period, it said in a trading update on Wednesday.

Despite shrinking sales, the retailer delivered a slight upgrade to its pre-tax profit forecast for the year to just above the middle of its £5m-£7m range. It warned on profits last September, causing shares to sink nearly 30 per cent.

Chief executive Helen Connolly said:

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.

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