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Slow first quarter for N Brown

Total revenue at brand house N Brown Group was down 3.8% year on year for the 13 weeks to 1 June.

Across its womenswear bands, total revenue was down by 2.8% year on year at JD Williams, and by 16.2% at Ambrose Wilson. It grew 2.2% compared with the same period in 2018 at Simply Be.

Overall digital revenue grew by 3% year on year in the first quarter, and now accounts for 83% of the group’s total revenue. JD Williams delivered 5.9% digital growth, Simply Be 4.6% and Ambrose Wilson 10.1%.

N Brown said “good” performance from its menswear etailer Jacamo helped to drive an 8.8% year-on-year increase across menswear digital revenue.

Total product revenue across all brands fell by 5.4% year on year, however, financial services revenue was up 8%. N Brown said this was due to “continued growth in the loan book.”

Newly appointed CEO Steve Johnson said: “We’re pleased to report a solid trading performance in the first quarter.

“In line with our strategy, we delivered digital revenue growth across JD Williams, Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson and Jacamo, as we continue to improve our customer offer while managing the decline of our offline business.

“The retail market remains challenging, but we have a clear strategy to deliver profitable digital growth and our full year expectations are unchanged.”

The business’ full year expectations remain the same, including net interest of £17m to £18m and net debt of £440m to £460m.

N Brown reported a 2.5% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £83.6m for the 12 months to 2 March 2019.

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