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N Brown begins overseas expansion plan

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N Brown has taken the first steps in delivering its major international expansions plans. 20,000 catalogues have been printed for the German version of the Simply Be plus sized clothing brand whilst the English language version now has a Simply Be euro version where all items are priced in euros and orders can be shipped to Holland, France, Spain, Italy or Portugal.

Chief executive Alan White revealed the company's international ambitions in a trading update last month. As well as the German launch of Simply Be, the company plans euro versions of a wide range of its brands' websites and has started preparing for a launch in English-speaking nations overseas during 2010, the Manchester Evening News reports:

Internet sales are soaring — they now account for 35 per cent of total revenues and have risen by 34 per cent over the past few months.

The average spend per web customer is £68, compared with £53 for those ordering by phone.

Mr White said the group had invested around £2m to improve its websites over the past year and was enjoying success among so-called 'silver surfers' — older web users — as well as younger, more internet-savvy customers.

Analyst John Stevenson, of KBC Peel Hunt, said N Brown's trading had been slightly ahead of expectations but bad debts remained a concern. "It's one of the few retailers we actually see growth for," he added.

He also said the pound's weakness could make N Brown's products attractive in the Eurozone.
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