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N Brown first-half sales increase but profits fall

N Brown pre-tax profits fell by almost 20% to £31.6m during the first half to 27 August, although ahead of consensus expectations.

Group revenue increased by 1% to £429.4m compared with the same period last year, with product revenue rising by 0.6% and financial services revenue by 1.9%.

The firm made statutory profit before tax of £21.1m, down by 11.3% year-on-year.

Its online penetration grew by 5 percentage points year-on-year to 68% and online revenue rose by 7.5%, with online revenue of its power brands (JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo) up by 10%.

More than two-thirds of all traffic (70%) now comes from mobile devices, it said.

JD Williams grew sales by 11%, Simply Be by 6.2% and Jacamo by 3.3% during the period.

“Spring summer was challenging for the entire retail sector, and we were not immune to this, but we demonstrated our flexibility as we improved revenue performance through the season whilst controlling our costs well,” said chief executive Angela Spindler.

“In recent weeks we have reached two significant milestones: our full FCA authorisation and the launch of our new US website. The learnings from the US launch have led us to extend the remaining rollout timetable for our Fit 4 the Future systems project.”

She added that autumn 16 has started in line with expectations and that the firm is comfortable with current market expectations for the full year.

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