Thursday 20 June 2019 7:51 am

N Brown share price surges on digital sales boost

Sales at N Brown fell despite growth in its digital division in the three months to the start of June, it revealed today.

Read more: N Brown shares plunge on ‘disappointing’ offline sales

Total revenue dropped 3.8 per cent year on year even though digital sales rose three per cent, the retailer said. Digital sales now comprise 83 per cent of overall revenue.

The progress on digital sales – core to N Brown’s pivot from its history as a catalogue clothing brand – pushed shares eight per cent higher this morning.

N Brown’s share price climbed to 141.7p on the news.

Meanwhile financial services revenue grew eight per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

Chief executive Steve Johnson defended the performance as “solid” despite the drop in sales.

“The retail market remains challenging, but we have a clear strategy to deliver profitable digital growth and our full year expectations are unchanged,” he said.

Its Ambrose Wilson clothing brand dragged down good performance among other brands, posting a 16.2 per cent drop in sales.

Meanwhile product brands fell 12.7 per cent overall, with product revenue dropping 5.4 per cent.

N Brown blamed that on its strategy of scaling back unprofitable offline marketing and recruitment.

Meanwhile womenswear brand JD Williams boosted digital growth by six per cent while Simply Be grew digital sales by 4.6 per cent.

Read more: N Brown sales slide in wake of ‘challenging’ Christmas

“We delivered digital revenue growth across JD Williams, Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson and Jacamo as we continue to improve our customer offer whilst managing the decline of our legacy offline business,” Johnson said.

The plus-sized retailer saw sales fall over the crucial Christmas shopping period as it shifts away from its traditional catalogue-focused shopping experience to move online.

It has closed 20 stores as it pivots to become a digital business under Johnson. He replaced former CEO Angela Spindler, who stepped down last September.

N Brown’s share price has fallen to 131.2p from 179p a year ago, but it has recovered from a low of 85.5p per share in February.