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N Brown plots overseas push

Home-shopping giant N Brown is gearing up for its first overseas push, with plans to launch plus-sized brand Simply Be in Germany in early 2009.

The group is set to launch a German website and catalogue for its fashion-led Simply Be brand, and is working with a firm of consultants in Germany to help market it.

N Brown chief executive Alan White said he was conducting a feasibility study of the market, but initial customer reaction had been positive. He said: “Our proposition is geared around size, and there is an under-served market in Germany for larger sizes.”

He added that Germany already had a sophisticated home-shopping market, with brands such as those owned by Otto Group, so the mail order and internet concept would work well.

White said he would consider other new markets in Europe if Germany proved successful, but added that delivery systems in some parts of Eastern Europe would need to improve. He did not rule out entering markets further afield such as India and Russia in the long term.

By the end of this year, N Brown will open up all of its brands’ transactional websites to international orders. White said he hoped this would boost group sales by about 3%.

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