N Brown’s sales were up 2.6% in the 15 weeks to June 14, with plus-size brands Simply Be and Jacamo driving sales.
Growth at the home shopping company was supported by the performance of womenswear business Simply Be and menswear retailer Jacamo, up 6% and 10% respectively. Like-for-like sales rose 2.5%.
N Brown said this was thanks to a shift in marketing spend to in-season rather than pre-season promotions.
“As a result, marketing spend during the period has changed year on year,” it said in a statement. “This has impacted the shape of our sales growth, with broadly flat sales across March and April and a higher growth rate for May and June.”
Chief executive Angela Spindler, who joined last July, said ongoing modernisation had led to a further sales uplift.
As part of a wider group strategy, plus-size womenswear brand JD Williams’ collection will be given a more contemporary makeover for autumn 14 in a bid to boost sales to older women. ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly has been signed as brand ambassador.
Spindler said: “We are modernising, broadening our appeal and refocusing on our differentiated proposition – fashion that fits.”
N Brown plans to open seven Simply Be and Jacamo dual-branded stores by the end of the year in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Norwich, Exeter and London’s Oxford Street, creating 240 jobs. The Oxford Street store will open in September.
Demand in the US was up 15% after a dedicated team was put together to market Simply Be to American customers.
Total group sales rose 6.4% to £834.9m for the year to March 1, while like-for-likes grew 35%. Operating profit rose 4.7% to £107m, while pre-tax profit climbed 5.3% to just over £100m.