N Brown sales rise in first half

N Brown, the 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 company, based in Manchester, said total revenue increased 5.1 per cent in the 18 weeks to 2 July and was up 1.6 percent 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, Marisota 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 the rate of gross margin.

N Brown said Simply Be sales from trials in Germany and the United States were rising in line with expectations.

Despite the ongoing decline in UK consumers' disposable income the firm said it was confident about the future outlook.