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N Brown turnover up 2.5% in 'encouraging' start to year

Home shopping retailer N Brown believes it has made an “encouraging” start to the year, posting a 2.5% increase in group turnover and a 1.5% increase in like-for-likes for the first quarter.

The multichannel business said product revenue increased 4.3% in the 13 weeks to May 29, driven by double-digit growth at both Simply Be and Jacamo.

However first quarter financial services revenue at the business, which also owns brands such as JD Williams and Figleaves, were down 1.9%.

Chief executive Angela Spindler said the shift from N Brown’s ‘support brands’ to ‘power brands’ continued and the company expects full year profit before tax to decline, as previously guided, due to planned investments and restructuring.

The plus-size specialist is in the midst of investing heavily with a view to transforming from a catalogue retailer into an digital-first business. As a result, pre-tax profits in the year to February 28 fell 21.2% to to £76.3m.

“We have had an encouraging start to the year, but there remains a lot to do,” said Spindler. “Although revenues were slightly down year on year, JD Williams continues to show signs of progress with new recruits up 27%.

“Our strategy remains on track. During the quarter we continued to streamline our organisation and our processes to embed a digital-first model.

“The scale of change is significant, but we are excited about the transformation under way. Full year guidance remains unchanged.”

N Brown will announce its result for the first half of the year on October 14.




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