N Brown aims for extra large US ambitions

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in N Brown Group jumped almost 14 per cent yesterday as the home shopping clothes and homeware retailer said a trial of its brands in the US had proved it could grab a share of the $35bn plus-size ladieswear market.

“We’re very encouraged by our performance there... everything suggests there is a place for us in that market,” chief executive Allan Brown said, warning that the US is unlikely to show a profit for another two years as it continues to build its customer base.

Brown’s comments came as the Manchester-based group, which targets older and larger shoppers with brands such as Simply Be, Jacamo and Marisota, reported a 4.5 per cent drop in first-half underlying profit to £42m – around £1.5m ahead of consensus forecasts.

The group saw a strong pick-up in trading in recent weeks, with like-for-like sales up 9.4 per cent in the first six weeks of the second half. Total sales rose 53 per cent to £3.4m in the six months to 1 September.