N Brown Group reports rise in revenues and progress in transformation plan
N Brown Group , owner of the JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo brands, today unveiled a 3.5% rise in revenue as it reaches the half-way point in a customer-focused multichannel transformation plan.
The home shopping group unveiled group revenue of £866.2m in the year to February 27, 3.5% up on the previous year. Pre-tax profits of £72.2m were down by 7.8% on the same time last year after exceptional costs of £17.2m stemming from the closure of clearance stores and the costs of re-organisation.
N Brown Group has already moved from a mail order to a digital-first business, and its current transformation is informed a strategy of focusing on products, price, people and place. In particular, the company promises to become "obsessed with customers, enriched with data and powered by technology," while offering "whatever you want, wherever you are, whenever you want it". It is focusing on the three 'power brands' of JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, all Top250 retailers in IRUK Top500 research.
During the year, online revenue rose by 15%, while active online customers were 13% up on the previous year. Some 65% of sales were generated online, six percentage points ahead of last year, while 72% of new customers transacted online. Mobile devices accounted for two-thirds of online traffic, 10 percentage points ahead of last year, with smartphone sessions up by 65%. The group said that its conversion rate was flat at 5.8%, well above the industry average. It said the conversion rate on PC, smartphone and tablet all increased "significantly", but that the overall conversion rate was affected by the lower conversion rate on mobile devices, which shoppers used to browse as well as to buy. The company will now launch an innovation incubator, JDWorks, as it looks to accelerate its adoption of new ideas and technologies.
Innovations during the year included the live streaming of a JD Williams fashion show around London Fashion Week.