A chain of 25 Simply Be and Jacamo shops is to be opened across the UK as the clothing brands expand further from their online and catalogue roots.
Parent company N Brown Group plans to grow the brands on the high street following a trial that has to date seen seven shops open, of which six are dual fascia Simply Be and Jacamo stores. Simply Be, which previously traded as a website and catalogue, is aimed at women aged 30-45 and Jacamo at men in the same age range. N Brown Group says two more stores will open in Leeds and Derby at the end of October, and that it currently plans to have 25 stores in total. To date the chain includes stores in the north east and north west, including in Manchester, Doncaster, Gateshead and Stockton-on-Tees.
Angela Spindler, incoming chief executive of N Brown Group, said: “Today I am pleased to confirm the roll out of our Simply Be/Jacamo store portfolio in the UK and I am looking forward to working with the excellent management team to build a leading global retailer famous for making shopping or fashion easy and enjoyable, regardless of size.”
N Brown Group says the stores, which generated first-half revenues of £3.4m, made a loss of £1m, but broke even at store contribution level, are proving to be an “effective multichannel hub” for customers and also have a halo effect on online sales.
The news came as N Brown Group, which also owns Figleaves, announced revenue growth of 8%, to £409.6m, in the first half of the financial year. Pre-tax profit rose by 5.5% to £44.1m in the 26 weeks to August 31. Simply Be delivered, said the first-half report, “excellent growth, helped in part by the benefit of higher brand awareness in the catchment areas around our stores.”
Ecommerce sales rose by 13% and accounted for 56% of all home shopping activity. Mobile devices accounted for 36% of web traffic. As a result of the internet growth, the company says it is cutting back on paper-based marketing, saving £1.5m in the year to date.
Spindler said: “I have spent my first three months looking at the business in detail and I am extremely excited by what I have seen. As these results demonstrate, the business is performing well, with significant opportunity for growth in the future based around our products, delivery channels and international development.”
The company said it was seeing “excellent growth” from younger customers, specialist brands and homewares and lifestyle categories.” It also said it would focus its international efforts on the US market.