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Sales rise at retailers N Brown Group and Thorntons

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Retailers N Brown Group and Thorntons today reported rising sales over Christmas.

Home shopping company N Brown Group reported a 17% rise in online sales that helped to boost total sales by 8.5% in the 19 weeks to January 12. More than half (54%) of N Brown’s sales, whose more than 20 brands include, Simply Be and Jacamo, are now made online.

The company said trial stores for the previously online-only Simply Be and Jacamo brands were showing “promising signs,” and that a detailed review of the channel would take place in March. Overseas markets are also expected to deliver growth.

“It has been pleasing to see our investments in improved online systems, more customer recruitment and revamped product ranges and pricing continuing to drive a strong sales momentum, despite the lacklustre retail environment,” said chief executive Alan White.

Meanwhile chocolate manufacturer and retailer Thorntons said its online sales fell as a new website went into operation late. Thorntons Direct sales fell by £0.7m to £4.8m as a result. Despite this, total sales rose by £4.5m to £88m in the 14 weeks to January 12, thanks to a 26.4% rise in commercial sales to £34.7m and, to a lesser extent, a 69% rise in international sales to £2.1m and a boost to private-label sales to £2.5m. Store sales fell by 9% to £40.9m following shop closures, while franchise sales were also down.

Thorntons’ chief executive Jonathan Hart said: “We are pleased with the overall progress made during this key trading period. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of our multi-channel distribution model and our strategy to rebalance our routes to market and revitalise the business as a whole. We have grown market share and demonstrated the continued strength of the Thorntons brand despite a challenging economy and a weak confectionery market.

“We enter the second half of our financial year with profits in line with our expectations and ahead of last year.”


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