Bonmarché, a value womenswear business, recently announced its collapse and filing for administration for the third time, putting 1,500 jobs at risk. The company was controlled by Philip Day, who has also seen the collapse of his other businesses including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, and Jaeger. The joint administrators, Damian Webb and Gordon Thomson from RSM Restructuring Advisory, have confirmed that the 225 stores will continue to trade while they explore potential solutions for the company.

Despite the challenging circumstances, the administrators remain positive about Bonmarché’s future. They highlight the brand’s loyal customer base and attractiveness, which they believe will generate considerable interest from potential buyers. The administrators are closely collaborating with management to evaluate different possibilities and intend to market the business for sale.

However, there is a potential obstacle that Bonmarché may face in its core market of cost-conscious customers aged 50 and above. Compared to younger consumers, this demographic might be less inclined to shift from in-store to online shopping. Additionally, they may be more apprehensive about going to physical stores during the ongoing pandemic. Unlike younger shoppers, they may not feel the same pressure to keep up with the latest trends. Therefore, it is crucial for retailers to prioritize the preferences and priorities of these customers, focusing on factors like quality and fit rather than solely chasing every trend.

This is not the first time Bonmarché has encountered financial difficulties. It has previously entered administration three times, with the most recent occurrence happening just over a year ago. On that occasion, Philip Day repurchased the company through a pre-pack deal, which allowed for cost reductions and store closures. However, it seems unlikely that Day will intervene again, indicating a possible withdrawal from the retail businesses he had once built up, similar to Philip Green’s departure from Arcadia.

For more information on Bonmarché’s administration filing, you can visit the following links:
1. BBC News – Bonmarché administration filing
2. Retail Gazette – Bonmarché on the brink of administration