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Almost 50% of N Brown Group sales are now online

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Figleaves-to-Simply Be-owner N Brown Group now makes almost half of its sales online, the company reported today, as it said it would continue to strengthen its multichannel presence by opening more stores.

In today's trading update the home shopping group, which has recently opened its first stores alongside its core internet and catalogue channels, reported a nine per cent rise in internet transactions in the 19 weeks to January 7, taking it “close to the 50% share of total online sales.” It said it would continue to focus on online as a means of growing its sales.

Over the period, it said, total group revenue was up by 2.3%, while like-for-like sales were up by 2%. While trading had been flat in October and November it picked up in December, with improvements seen in its ladieswear and midlife brands.

In October the company reported it had opened its first two Simply Be shops in Liverpool and Bury and these, it said today, had been well received and were attracting new customers to the plus size brand. Five more stores will open in the coming year.

Today N Brown Group also said its international sales had met expectations in the US, although in Germany it was putting expansion on hold while it focused on reducing returns rates. Subject to a “reasonable reaction from our customers to the new spring catalogues,” the group said its profits would remain in line with expectations.

Looking ahead, it said, “we do not expect life to be easy for our customers but the expected reduction in the rate of inflation, especially for clothing and footwear, should help to prevent the financial pressure on them rising further.

“We will continue to drive for growth in our core UK home shopping business, particularly through the online channel, as well as focusing on our strategic opportunities in multichannel stores and international markets.”

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