N Brown dividend up as profit jumps

HOME shopping business N Brown yesterday posted another year of growth, despite difficult trading conditions.

The retailer, which has brands including High and Mighty, Figleaves, Jacamo and Simply Be, reported revenues of £718m for the year to 28 February, up 4.2 per cent.

Pre-tax profits were boosted by 5.5 per cent to £98.2m. The company hiked its dividend by 15 per cent and signalled future increases. N Brown’s brands targeting younger customers had performed particularly well, with sales up 11 per cent, while its brands targeting older customers declined by nine per cent.

Chief executive Alan White said: “We have high inflation, affecting things like food and energy, and interest rates are very low, which is a bad combination for our older customers.

“They are the victims of the economic circumstances. However our ranges for younger people are doing well.”

He said the company’s international businesses – including operations in the US – were holding up well.

“There is more pressure in the UK because the cuts are being mad now. In the US everyone is asking when it will happen. Hopefully the way our government is doing it will work.” White said that the company was off the acquisition trail for the moment as it develops its existing businesses.

N Brown said that it expected to deliver another good result in 2011/12. It is paying a dividend of 12.41p a share.