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N Brown sales up but profits fall

Total revenue increased 4.2% to £415.8m at N Brown for the six months to August 29, but operating profit excluding exceptional costs slipped 14.2% to £38.8m, in line with expectations.

Product revenue for the period was up 6.1% to £299.2m while financial services revenue  dropped 0.4% to £116.6m.

Statutory profit before tax fell 54.6% to £19.4m, reflecting the cost of closing 18 clearance stores in August.

The firm said the JD Williams turnaround was “on track”, with new customers up 21%. It added that online performance of the brand was “particularly encouraging” with penetration over 50% for the first time, up 8 percentage points year-on-year.

The multichannel retailer said Jacamo and Simply Be also had a “strong performance” with product revenue for both up 21%.

Internationally revenue in the US was up 35% and losses halved to £900,000 year-on-year.

Angela Spindler, N Brown chief executive, said:

“We have continued to execute significant changes in H1 and have delivered results in line with our expectations. We are adjusting our retail business model and the way we operate, transforming from direct mail-led to digital first. This has been driven by a clear understanding of what customers want, and fuelled by technology.

Our transformation into a truly digital first, specialist-fit, fashion retailer is on track and is delivering tangible results, including good trading momentum online. We have previously communicated that this year will be significantly H2 weighted, and that remains the case. H2 has started well, with a pleasing performance in September, in line with our expectations and underpinning our confidence in the full year outturn.”


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