Position last year: 12
Transforming heritage catalogue business N Brown Group into a digital-first retailer was never going to be easy, but its unflappable chief executive Angela Spindler isn’t wasting any time.
In January N Brown announced it would close catalogue business Gray & Osbourn by June and transfer 550 jobs at its Manchester call centre to outsourcing firm Serco, as well as plans to change its pricing architecture across the JD Williams and Premier Man brands, so, similarly to Jacamo and Simply Be, all sizes cost the same. In April 21 redundancies were made in its buying and merchandising team, and the following month a voluntary consultation opened for staff at JD Williams.
A warm autumn leading to an extended clearance and one-off costs incurred by the close of Gray & Osbourn led to Spindler announcing N Brown’s second profit warning, eventually coming in at £76.3m for the year to February 28, below market expectations of £88m.
However, N Brown could be turning a corner. While statutory pre-tax profit dropped 54.6% year on -year to £19.4m in line with expectations, total revenue increased 4.2% to £415.8m for the six months to August 29.