N Brown shares up amid online growth, store closures

Credit: N Brown Official Site

Shares of Manchester-based fashion retailer N Brown Group rose about 8% after it said in a trading statement its product revenue rose 10.2% in the 13-week period to June 3 and that it would close up to five loss-making stores for its brands Simply Be and Jacamo due to “ongoing weak footfall in some locations.”

The plus-size fashion retailer, whose brands also include JD Williams, said group revenue rose 5.6%, online revenue was up 16% — and that 71% of its revenue is now generated online.

It said overall online traffic was up 34%. Smartphones accounted for 51% of all sessions, up from 42% last year, with mobile devices as a whole accounting for 74%.

N Brown CEO Angela Spindler said: “We are pleased to report a good Q1 performance, with continued momentum across all of our brands and categories.

“Ladieswear and Simply Be in particular had a very strong period, with good responses to our Spring/Summer campaigns, leading to further market share gains.

“As a result of ongoing weak footfall in some locations, and with a clear focus on driving financial returns across all areas of our business, we will be closing up to five loss-making stores.

“Although the outlook for consumer confidence remains uncertain, our offering is resonating with customers.

“At this early stage in the financial year, trading is on track to meet our expectations.

“We continue to invest in our customer proposition and remain very confident in our future growth prospects.”

N Brown said the five stores earmarked for closure “contributed £5.0m revenue but accounted for the entire £2.0m operating loss of our store estate in FY17.

“The process will be completed by the end of August and we anticipate an exceptional cost in relation to these of £10m to £14m, of which approximately 70% will be cash.”

N Brown’s share price rose about 8% to around 307p to give it a current stock market value of more than £860 million.