N Brown shares up amid hopes for digital move

Shares of Manchester-based fashion retailer N Brown Group rose about 4% on Thursday after it said in a trading statement that its first-quarter total revenue fell 3.8% but analysts welcomed its online push.

N Brown’s brands include JD Williams, Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson and Jacamo.

N Brown said that for the 13 week period to June 1, 2019, its digital revenue rose 3% and financial services revenue rose 8%.

About 83% of the group’s total revenue is now digital, and 84% of digital traffic is now from mobile devices.

N Brown CEO Steve Johnson said: “We’re pleased to report a solid trading performance in the first quarter.

“In line with our strategy, 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.

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

Analysts at Peel Hunt reiterated their “Buy” stance on N Brown.

“Earnings momentum has stabilised thanks to strong cost efficiency, particularly from the digitalisation of marketing spend,” wrote the Peel Hunt analysts.

“N Brown is the leading specialist in its market.

“Currently, we believe N Brown should be trading on a modest sector discount.

“Greater visibility on marketing KPIs, such as cost of acquisition, frequency and basket, will drive greater understanding of the business, in our view, and unlock the potential for a higher rating.”