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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 79. Helen Connolly, CEO, Bonmarché

Last year: 89

helen connolly

Things have improved for Bonmarché boss Helen Connolly following a difficult start to the year. In June, the value womenswear retailer reported that its pre-tax profit fell 39.6% to £5.8m in the year to 1 April 2017 – and Connolly was forced to concede that things had not improved as much as hoped.

However, the former buying director for Asda’s George ploughed on with her strategy of modernising Bonmarché’s product, streamlining the head office and generally making the business more agile. Happier news followed in November, when it posted a rise in profits and sales for the first half of the new financial year. Revenue grew by 5% to £97.8m in the 26 weeks to 30 September, while its underlying pre-tax profit soared 70.3% to £4.2m.

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