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N Brown posts "solid" performance as Figleaves makes first profit

Home shopping group N Brown has posted a 2.5% rise in pre-tax profits for the full-year to March 3, 2012.

The retailer, which owns plus-size brands High & Mighty and Simply Be, has said it is pleased with what it described as a “solid performance” in a difficult trading environment having posted pre-tax profits of £96.9m.

Total group revenue increased by 4.8% to £753.2m during the period while like-for-like sales, excluding the non-comparable periods for newly-opened stores, the acquisition of Figleaves and the 53rd week, were up by 1.6%.

However, in the eight weeks since the end of the full-year period, like-for-like sales have slowed to 0.6%.

N Brown said this slowdown in like-for-likes can be attributed to the earlier Easter break and unfavourable year-on-year weather conditions.

Operating profit for the full-year was slightly down by £0.6m to £102.0m, after absorbing £5.2m of losses on opening the Simply Be concept stores and expanding internationally.

Lingerie etailer Figleaves, which was acquired by N Brown two years ago, made its first-ever full-year profit in its 13 year history while men’s plus-sized brand High & Mighty opened three new stores and reduced its losses to £0.2m.

“We have delivered a solid performance for the year, driven by the development of multi-channel trading and new product ranges,” said N Brown chief executive Alan White.

“The highlights include increased online penetration, strong growth in our younger titles and our expansion into stores and international markets.

“We are particularly pleased to see Figleaves delivering its first ever profit, good sales growth from High & Mighty and by the performance of our Simply Be, Marisota and Jacamo brands.”

N Brown said that its outlook for the year ahead is broadly positive but that it believes consumer confidence will remain fragile until the second half of the year when inflation and income growth become more balanced.

“Looking ahead, our multi-channel strategy, combined with our focus on niche customers and products and the flexibility of our business model will look to overcome the challenging macro-economic conditions,” added White.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Sounds like Alan White has swallowed the book of corporate speak whole. If he ordered sausage, egg & chips at the local greasy spoon, he would probably say ' I require an undemanding yet purposeful breakfast with a proven track record in an environment of social flexibility which demands the minimum outlay in challenging social conditions...'

    On a more serious note, Jacamo's heavy advertising on ITV channels is allegedly causing headaches for several brands that supply them, as the image problems associated with it could lead to them pulling out in the future. If I were N Brown, I'd cool it as although brands like the money that plus size clothing can provide, they don't want to be associated with it.

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