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Record growth spurs N Brown’s bid to conquer US

Home-shopping giant N Brown has set its sights on the US to launch its plus-size womenswear brand Simply Be next year, after posting a record performance at its full-year results.

N Brown, which has already tested the waters overseas with the launch of Simply Be in Germany, said it was in the process of a feasibility study of the US market ahead of a planned launch in 2010.

N Brown chief executive Alan White told Drapers: “We launched Simply Be in Germany because we felt there was a gap in the market with clothing for larger-sized women in their 30s, and from what we’ve seen so far it’s not a well-served niche in the US either. We’re doing the ground work at the moment, along with a feasibility study in the US. Businesses like [lifestyle brand] Boden have done well out there.”

White added that the US was a huge market with a sophisticated home-shopping customer, offering huge potential for N Brown.
He said the performance of Simply Be in Germany, which launched in February, was “so far so good” and that the group would ramp up marketing in the country this autumn.

N Brown’s underlying pre-tax profit rose 11.3% to £82.7 million for the year to February 28. Like-for-like revenue climbed 10.7% to £662.5m. The group said the fastest rate of growth was in its younger brands, which include Simply Be. Sales for these brands rose 21% to £200m.

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