Thursday 11 October 2018 11:52 am

N Brown shares plunge as 'disappointing' offline sales hit revenues

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Fashion retailer N Brown took a kicking from investors at the opening bell this morning, as its share price dived more than 20 per cent amid a “disappointing” set of results.

The JD Williams and Simply Be owner revealed a drop in product revenue during the six months to 1 September, as offline sales dragged down the firm’s performance in the wake of company efforts to ramp up its focus on digital shopping.

Group revenues in the first six months of its 2019 financial year hit £457.8m, rising one per cent from the same period in the previous year.

However, product revenue tumbled 3.1 per cent with a "significant decline in offline sales", according to the firm.

The news comes as the plus-sized Manchester-based retailer looks to shift its core model onto online sales, in a bid to avoid the damage being inflicted on high street outlets as shoppers increasingly move online.

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Chairman Matt Davies said: "Whereas much progress has been made transforming the business into an online retailer, we have not yet achieved the growth in product or international that we would have hoped for and have decided to rebase the dividend to a more sustainable level from which we will seek to grow.

“The group's adjusted profit was in line with our expectations as we benefited from growth in our online power brands and financial services, along with improved marketing efficiency,” said chief executive Steve Johnson.

He added: “We were however disappointed with our wider product performance which was impacted by the ongoing decline of our legacy offline business and challenging market conditions.”

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