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Sales up at N Brown

Group revenue at N Brown increased by 3.9% to £922.2m in the year to 3 March, fuelled by a “stand out” performance by Simply Be.

Sales at Simply Be were up 16.3% on 2017, JD Williams was up 3.2% and Jacamo was up 5.1%.

Total product revenue increased 4.1% to £652.6m in the year, while financial services revenue was up 3.5% to £269.6m. Online revenue was up 10% year on year and 76% of online traffic is now from mobile.

Adjusted EBITDA - excluding exceptionals - was up 2.3% to £118.6m, while adjusted profit before tax was up 1.3% to £81.6m.

However, statutory profit before tax dived 71.9% on 2017 as a result of exceptional costs of £56.9m. This related to customer redress for historic general insurance products and store closures, as previously announced.

N Brown closed five dual fascia stores at the end of the first half. It currently has 20 stores.

Product gross margin was down 250 basis points to 52.2% for the year, following “investment in promotions and value for money.”

Financial services gross margin was up 550 basis points to 61.2%, driven in part by a reduction to minimum payments.

During the second half the business went live on both Asos and Zalando, and it has today announced partnership deals with The Iconic in Australia and Lamoda in Russia. Both platforms will feature a capsule collection from Simply Be of 50 product lines, from size 16 to 24, with a view to launch Jacamo the following year.

Angela Spindler, chief executive, said: “Against a challenging market backdrop I am delighted to be reporting profit growth, with Simply Be the standout brand. The second half was difficult for the fashion sector. A good performance in financial services provided the group with resiliency to enable us to continue to invest in our customer offer, successfully driving revenue and market share growth.

“Our strategy continues to deliver results, with market share gains in the UK, USA revenue up 21% in the second half, new partnerships underway and almost three quarters of our revenues now coming online.

“March was a challenging month for fashion retail, however, trade is improving through April, and at this early stage in the new financial year our overall expectations are unchanged.”



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