N Brown shares fall 14% amid stock delivery delays

Shares of Manchester-based online fashion and home goods retailer N Brown Group fell 14% on Friday after it published a trading update that showed the pace of its revenue decline slowed down — but also a warning that the group is experiencing delays of two to three weeks for many of its stock deliveries “given global container issues.”

Revenue in the third quarter ended January 2 was down 8.8% annually, slowed from the second quarter’s 13.4% fall and the 21.9% drop in the first.

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

The group said it continues to trade in line with its expectations and expects to deliver full-year 2021 adjusted EBITDA of between £84 million and £86 million. 

However, in its full-year outlook and guidance, N Brown said: “The latest lockdown restrictions will continue to present opportunities and challenges for the group, and the number one priority remains the safety of our colleagues and customers. 

“We will utilise the experience gained from previous lockdown periods to ensure the wellbeing of the team, whilst continuing to serve our customer base. 

“As with a number of other retailers, we are currently experiencing delays of two to three weeks for many of our stock deliveries, given global container issues, as well as cost pressure in the supply chain. 

“We are working through the operational challenges which this presents us and looking to minimise the impact on customers.”

N Brown added: “Product revenue has continued to recover from the sudden and sharp decline experienced in the first quarter of FY’21 caused by the impact of Covid-19. 

“Customer trends in the Q3 period continued to reflect the Covid-19 environment.

“We experienced particularly strong demand for computing (+115%), gaming (+50%) and white goods (+48%), and Home & Gift sales now comprise 42% of product revenue, compared to 32% in the same period last year. 

“Within Apparel we saw strong growth in leisurewear and nightwear offset by a decline in dresses, formalwear and swimwear.

“The five strategic brands delivered product revenue down a modest 1.4%, in a period when group marketing costs were 40% lower than the prior year, and we were particularly pleased with the performance of JD Williams and Home Essentials. 

“Encouragingly, we saw growth in online customer accounts in JD Williams, Simply Be, Jacamo and Home Essentials in the period.”