N Brown Group reports falling turnover despite fast growth in its high street channel
N Brown Group
today reported a fall in turnover over the autumn, following unseasonably warm weather. But it said its plan to transform from a mail order business to a multichannel business was on course – with the fastest growth seen in its high street shops.
The home shopping group, one of the first to move beyond mail order and internet sales by adding a store sales channel, said sales at its expanding chain of Simply Be and Jacamo stores had grown by 78% in the 13 weeks to November 29. This growth came against a backdrop of falling turnover, which was down by 10.8% in September before returning to growth in October and November. Over the course of the quarter, turnover was down by 2.3%. In the year to date, sales are down by 1.2%. Some 60% of sales took place online during the quarter.
The company said it had won more customers for its relaunched JD Williams brand, with a 30% increase in the number of new shoppers recruited during the quarter compared to the same period last year. It is also seeing growth in its US market, where demand rose by 10% during the period, and the company said it expected profits for the year to be in line with guidance.
“We are continuing with our strategic plan to simplify and modernise the business,” said chief executive Angela Spindler, who said the response to the JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo “power brands” had been “excellent”.
She added: “We have a clearly differentiated proposition and the longer range market projections for online growth and changing demographics are in our favour. These underpin confidence in our mission to be the leading global retailer famous for making shopping for fashion easy and enjoyable regardless of size.”