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N Brown sales hit by election uncertainty

N Brown, the home shopping group, said that uncertainty surrounding the general election and measures in the emergency Budget led to a more subdued period of trading.

N Brown, which will hold its AGM later today, said group revenue grew 1.1% in the 18 weeks to July 3 with sales ahead 0.1% on a like-for-like basis.

It said: “Trading since the general election has been subdued as customers assess the likely impact on their personal situation of the coalition government’s new policies.”

The group, which operates brands including plus-size womenswear brand Simply Be and plus-size menswear brand Jacamo, said its total share in women’s clothing and footwear had grown although its share in the over 65 market and size 16 plus has fallen, according to Kantar Worldfashion Panel.  

N Brown has continued to reduce its ratio of customer bad debt to sales which has led to a decrease in revenues of almost 2% compared to last year. This has meant however that gross margin has improved, now only 0.2% below last year’s level compared to an expected 0.3%.

N Brown has continued to develop menswear out sized business High & Mighty which it bought in September and lingerie etailer Figleaves which it bought for £11.5m last month.

Next week N Brown will launch its Simply Be website in America, and launch a catalogue there later in the summer.

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