N BROWN, the British home shopping clothing group that targets older and larger consumers, posted a rise in first-half sales, underlining the resilient nature of the business in tough times.
The Manchester-based company said yesterday total revenue increased 5.1 per cent in the 18 weeks to 2 July and was up 1.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
That compares with an underlying rise of 1.5 per cent in the 10 weeks to 7 May.
As it had anticipated, the group, whose brands include Simply Be, Jacamo, Figleaves and Oxendales, said it was having to be more aggressive with targeted promotional discounts to help drive revenue.
This has led to a 0.2 per cent decline in its gross margins, the firm said in a trading statement ahead of its AGM, which passed all of its resolutions.
N Brown said Simply Be sales from trials in Germany and the US were rising in line with expectations.
Online sales now account for 47 per cent of the company’s total, up from 41 per cent last year.
Despite the ongoing decline in UK consumers’ disposable income the firm said it was confident about the future outlook.
Shares in N Brown rose 2.25 per cent to close at 267.7p yesterday, valuing the business at about £734m.
City A.M. Reporter