Retailers should “stop panicking” about the cool spring weather and manage their stock better in order to avoid “crazy” discounting, N Brown chief executive Angel Spindler has urged.
Group revenue at N Brown increased 3.5% to £866.2m in the 12 months to February 27. Pre-tax profit fell 2% over the year but was up 11% during the second half.
Spindler said trading so far this spring has been “lacklustre” but urged the high street to uphold margins.
“March was slow but the season doesn’t kick in with an uplift in full price sales until the weather changes. It’s too soon to write off spring, we will get some [warm] weather and I would ask that everyone in the industry stops panicking and manages their stock really well. We as retailers need to make sure we’re not sitting on product that you then have crazy make downs on.”
She added: “Everyone in the industry needs to work hard to improve stock management so they don’t have a big problem when trading is volatile and that they are able to back new trends and bring newness into stores and online. Retailers need to be better planners. That will be the difference between the winners and the losers.”
Spindler said N Brown “traded well” through tough seasons thanks to its flexible trading capabilities. She is confident the business can get through 2016 “in a profitable way”.
“It’s a significant milestone for us in our transformation to achieve double digit [profit] growth [in the second half].
”More pleasing than numbers is the fact that we have turned around a very traditional catalogue business into an industry leading company in terms of conversion rate and online growth as well as maintaining our operating margin - no one else has achieved anything near that,” she added.