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N Brown sales rise 5.1%

Home shopping giant N Brown posted a 5.1% uplift in sales for the 18 weeks to July 4, boosted by warm weather and strong sales in both men’s and women’s wear.

N Brown, which specialises in niche and plus-size products, said womenswear and menswear continued to benefit from the extended ranges of clothing available in a full range of sizes and fittings.

N Brown has also seen strong sales in its newer catalogue brands, Marisota and Jacamo and warmer weather boosted demand for summer clothing and footwear.

However, N Brown chief executive Alan White told Drapers that sales of mid-price point product was not as strong as other ranges.

He said: “Branded product with higher price points is doing very well and at the other end budget prices in casual ranges are also doing well. However, the mid price point, which is neither branded or extremely good value, is not doing so well.”

Online sales have increased by 25% for the 18-week period and now account for 37% of total sales.

N Brown said, due to the material uncertainties within the economy, it has budgeted to be more cautious in customer recruitment, the provision of credit facilities and cost control. Whilst this dented sales growth slightly, the group said it had also slowed the rate of debtors growth to 8%, compared with 13% last year.

N Brown said although the expected increase in bad debts had resulted in a reduction in the rate of gross margin by 1.5%, at the pre-tax profit level, this had been offset by operational cost savings and reduced interest charges.

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