Shares in struggling retailer Bonmarche have tanked after it warned annual losses could hit £6 million following the return of sales woes in March.
In its third profit alert in six months, the womenswear chain said it has seen “significantly weaker” trading since the start of the month, reversing a bounce-back in January and February after it resorted to heavy discounting to shift stock.
It cautioned that sales are likely to remain under pressure throughout March.
Shares tumbled by more than a fifth as it said it now expects underlying pre-tax losses of between £5 million and £6 million for the year to the end of March.
This compares with the £4 million annual loss previously pencilled in at the time of its December profit warning.
It 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.
“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”.
It added that it is expecting bank financing to continue to be adequate even at the steepest losses forecast for the year to March.
The warning comes after the December profit alert sent the firm’s shares crashing.