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Online sales rise at N Brown Group

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The internet and catalogue home shopping company behind names from Figleaves.com to Simply Be, N Brown Group, says online sales now account for 43% of its total sales.

The update came as N Brown Group today said ecommerce sales had risen by 17% in the six months to £150m in the six months to August 28 2010.

Overall, total group revenue grew by 3.2% to £349.7m over the period, compared to last year, driven by growth in new brands and through the group’s acquisitions of High & Mighty and Figleaves.com.

Like-for-like sales, stripping out the effect of the new acquisitions, improved by 0.6%. Pre-tax profits rose by 27% to £42.3m.

The company said it had seen 7% sales growth in brands targeted at customers under 45, which include Jacomo, Simply Be and Figleaves, to hit £112m in turnover. Midlife brands targeting customers aged between 45 and 65, such as Marisota and High & Mighty, had seen steadier growth at 3%, to reach 213m, but brands aimed at older customers, aged more than 65 had seen an 11% fall in sales to £25m. This, said the company, reflects “the decline in this section of the clothing market due to the more cautious attitude of these customers, and the impact of low interest rates on their disposable income.”

Meanwhile the company said it intended to develop Figleaves by offering its own-brand products to its other customers and offering N Brown fashion, footwear and lingerie to Figleaves customers.

Alan White, chief executive, said: "This is another good performance, benefiting from the strong growth in online sales, the expansion of Jacamo and Marisota, and the acquisition of Figleaves and High and Mighty.”

Lord Alliance of Manchester, N Brown Group chairman, said: "We have had a good first half of the year, despite a difficult trading environment, and we are pleased to note that the positive trends have continued into the first six weeks of the second half.”

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