N Brown plots 25 shop openings

 
Kasmira Jefford
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THE NEW boss of online and catalogue retailer N Brown outlined plans yesterday to push ahead with the launch of more bricks and mortar stores after reporting a rise in first half sales and profits.

Angela Spindler, who replaced N Brown’s longstanding chief executive Alan White in July, said the group will add two new stores at the end of October in Leeds and Derby, with the aim of growing the estate to 25 stores.

The Manchester-based group currently has seven stores trading as Simply Be, its womenswear brand targeting curvier women in their 30s and 40s, with two shops also selling its menswear label Jacamo.

“The idea is that the stores are multi-channel hubs for our customers, whether those customers shop with us online, in-store or over the telephone and we’ve come up with 25,” she said.

Her comments came as the retailer posted a 7.1 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £45m in the six months to 31 August and an eight per cent rise in sales to £409.6m.

Online sales jumped 13 per cent and now account for 56 per cent of home shopping sales.

Despite strong figures, shares plunged five per cent after the firm reported an increase in bad debt and weak margins.