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N Brown Group reports dip in sales, as it prepares for Oxford Street flagship launch

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N Brown Group today reported a dip in first-half sales. But the home shopping group said while overall sales were down by 0.6%, and those at JD Williams by 3%, in the six months to August 30, its Simply Be and Jacamo brands saw sales grow by 4% and 10% respectively. The two brands see their first Oxford Street flagship store open tomorrow.

The year, the company said, was a year of transition to take it further away from traditional mail order. More than half of sales (58%) were made online. Of that, 48% of traffic came from mobile devices, up from 35% at the same time last year.

But stores were an increasingly important sales channel for the company, with like-for-like sales up by 17%. The new Oxford Street store promises “the latest developments in in-store technology, driving ease of shop, speed of service and choice.” It will be followed by another three store openings before Christmas, taking N Brown’s store estate to 14 in total.

“During the second quarter we have sharply accelerated the pace of our drive to be the global retailer famous for making shopping for fashion easy and enjoyable regardless of size,” said Angela Spindler, chief executive of N Brown Group. “We have pushed on with our programme of far-reaching change aimed at modernising the way we operate and how we go to market, equipping the business to capitalise on the attractive long-term opportunities we see in our space. The combined effect of changes to our category focus, the planned reduction in credit sales from high risk areas and the reduction and re-phasing of our mailing programme has reduced revenues in the half, however we have improved the quality and profitability of our sales.”

She said the company was on track to deliver forecast results in the first half.

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