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N Brown Group reports improved half year

N Brown Group has revealed that its revenue for the half year to 31st August came in at £432.9 million, a five per cent drop but that its adjusted profit before tax rose by 3.9 per cent to £31.8 million.

It had closed its loss-making international division and stopped marketing into the USA in order to fully focus on its core UK business. Product revenue had declined as a result of scaling back its legacy off-line business, the closure of stores, and the aforementioned withdrawal from the US market. Excluding stores and the USA, product venue was down by 6.2 per cent with womenswear down by 3.4 per cent. 

Digital sales had, however, grown to represent 84 per cent of product revenue as the group focused more resources on growing its digital revenues, whereas it expects a double digit decline in offline revenue for the second half of the year. 

CEO Steve Johnson commented: "We announced our new strategy in May to return N Brown to sustainable profit gowth and we have made good progress over the first half of the year. In particular, we have delivered on our strategy of growing digital revenue across Simply Be, JD Williams, Jacamo and Ambrose Wilson. This has been achieved by taking a more targeted approach to marketing and customer recruitment." He added: "The retail environment remains heavily promotional, but we are concentrating on continuing to improve our customer proposition and ensuring that we operate as efficiently as possible, which has led to an increase of 4 per cent in adjusted EBITDA for the period. We remain focused on implementing our plans and the Board's full year expectations are unchanged."

In September the business extended its product portfolio by introducing ranges from Seasalt, Joules and Hobbs for JD Williams, and from October it will launch Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein as new brands for Jacamo. Monsoon, Oasis, Lacoste and Lyle & Scott will also extend their product offers across JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo.

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