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N Brown boosted by warm May

N Brown, the home shopping giant, saw sales rise 12.3% in the 17 weeks to June 28.

N Brown, which focuses on plus-size clothing and niche fashions for older women, said sales were particularly strong during the sunny spell in May, which coincided with the mailing of its summer catalogues.

N Brown also benefited from its investment in new brands including its Simply Yours, Marisota, Jacamo, and Nightingales websites and catalogues. Menswear showed the fastest rate of growth but womenswear sales were also encouraging.

N Brown said the mix of customers, products and channels had resulted in a 0.6% reduction in gross margin. However, that has been largely offset by improved operational efficiencies.

Online sales now account for 31% of group sales, increasing by 45% in value.

N Brown chairman Lord Alliance said in a statement that the group's financial position remained strong but added that the board was "acutely aware of the economic factors which could impact on customers' discretionary spending".

He said: "We continue to believe that the age and demographics of our customer base, coupled with the strength of our specialist product propositions and the enhancements to our websites, will deliver further progress in the remainder of the financial year."

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