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N Brown sales recover after warm weather woes

Multichannel retailer N Brown is starting to show signs of recovery after the warm weather in September and October caused sales to drop 2.3% in the third quarter.

Sales dropped 10.8% during September’s mild weather, but the company returned to growth in October and November with sales up 1.5% and 3% respectively.

At the end of the 13 weeks to November 29 the number of customers who had placed orders grew 2% year on year.

Following the more relaunch of plus-size womenswear brand JD Williams during the third quarter the business experienced a 30% increase in new customers’ year on year. 

N Brown said online sales had seen “good growth” and now accounts for 60% of total sales.

The group opened its dual Simply Be and Jacamo store on Oxford Street in September followed by further openings in Merry Hill in Dudley, Norwich and Edinburgh in October and November.  

Gross margin for the quarter is in line with group expectations driven by “a focus on providing competitive value” for customers.  N Brown said it expected the trading environment to remain “extremely competitive” from now until the end of its financial year, so despite progress made during the quarter its guidance for the year remains unchanged. 

Chief executive Angela Spindler said: “We are pleased with the strength in our customer activity levels and sales during November.  We have seen an excellent response from both existing and new customers to planned higher-profile brand activity on our JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo power brands. 

“We are continuing with our strategic plan to simplify and modernise the business. We have a clearly differentiated proposition and the longer-range market projections for online growth and changing demographics are in our favour. These underpin confidence in our mission to be the leading global retailer famous for making shopping for fashion easy and enjoyable regardless of size.”

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