N Brown shares fall as first-half profit plunges 75%

Shares of Manchester-based online fashion and home goods retailer N Brown Group fell about 15% on Thursday after it reported its first-half profit before tax fell 74.6% to £7.2 million and revenue slipped 4.6% to £331.5 million in the 26 weeks to August 27, 2022.

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

In its outlook, N Brown said: “Uncertainty around macroeconomic conditions persists, and as such, visibility of trading trends is limited.

“We have seen second quarter product revenue decline of 9.4% continue into September and at this stage, are planning on the basis of challenging market conditions continuing for longer, with H2 23 product revenue expected to decline at a similar rate to Q2.”

N Brown Group CEO Steve Johnson said: “In a difficult period of weakening consumer confidence, we’ve balanced our objectives between disciplined trading – with a focus on upholding margin – and delivering on our long-term strategy to transform the business.

“Our teams have worked relentlessly to launch Simply Be’s new website, and early indicators give us confidence in the wider benefits for all our customers when we roll this out more widely across our other strategic brands.

“We anticipate continued softness in trading over the second half as macroeconomic pressures continue to weigh on consumers, despite government support.

“We will, therefore, maintain our focus on tightly managing both our costs and margins.

“At the same time, given our ongoing confidence in our strategy and the strength of our balance sheet, we will continue to invest in our digital transformation to deliver sustainable profitable growth.”