Home shopping group N Brown has reported an improving sales trend but has been forced to sacrifice some margin to persuade shoppers to spend.
The retailer, owner of mail order and internet businesses such as Simply Be and Jacomo, posted turnover up 5.1% in the 18 weeks to July 2. Like-for-likes advanced 1.6% over the period, which N Brown said was “slightly ahead” of that reported at the time of its preliminary results in May.
N Brown chairman Lord Alliance said: “As we anticipated, and in line with the sector, we are having to be more aggressive with targeted promotional discounts to help drive revenue and this has led to a 0.2% decline in the rate of gross margin.”
He said that menswear and footwear were growing strongly but that womenswear was slightly down. He added that women’s clothing at higher price points was outperforming against the retailer’s other ranges, “where the inflationary price increases are subduing demand”.
Two locations in the North West of England have been secured for pilot multichannel stores and are expected to be open by early October.
Online sales now account for 47% of N Brown’s total, up from 41% last year.