Home shopping retailer returns to profit and predicts product revenue growth

Simply Be range

N Brown Group, the Manchester-based home shopping retailer, said it expects the current rate of product revenue decline to lessen, and to return to growth in the 2025 financial year.

It said the rate of decline stood at six per cent in the first quarter of the new fiscal year, but anticipates it will return to a moderate level of growth, alongside a modest improvement in the rate of decline in Financial Services revenue and a group gross margin rate consistent with FY24.

It revealed its forecast in today’s announcement of the 2024 annual results for the year to March 2.

They showed a fall in annual revenues, from £666m to £600.9m.

The previous year’s £71.1m statutory loss before tax reflected payments in settlement of a legal dispute with insurer Allianz and a non-cash impairment to non-financial assets of £53m. In 2024 it made a £5.3m pre-tax profit.

An adjusted pre-tax profit of £13.3m was up on the previous year’s £4.9m. However, adjusted EBITDA fell from £54.4m in 2023 to £47.6m.

The group said it has a strong balance sheet with significant cash and cash equivalents, and total accessible liquidity of more than £148m. Revolving Credit Facility and overdraft remain undrawn with limits of £75m and £12.5m, respectively.

It has £65.2m cash and cash equivalents. Securitisation borrowings of £301.5m under the facility extended to December 2026 in the year are well covered by £517m gross customer receivables.

During the year the group said it improved customer experience through the launch of Jacamo’s new mobile-first website and the launch of a Product Information Management (‘PIM’) system, fundamental to its marketing strategy, initially on Simply Be.

It also achieved the successful launch of new product lines across its strategic brands. JD Williams launched its Anthology premium line, increasing prominence of own brand offering; Simply Be enriched its third-party offering with the launch of lifestyle sports brand TALA and started offering select lines in Sainsbury’s stores; and Jacamo enhanced its own brand offer, expanding across key categories including smart casual, denim, and footwear.

Chief executive, Steve Johnson, said: “We have delivered against our strategic and financial objectives this year.

“We have kept to our transformation plans, despite the macro-economic backdrop, whilst building resilience through our strong balance sheet, and achieving adjusted EBITDA above market expectations.

“Our customers are now seeing tangible benefits from our transformation, with an enhanced experience being delivered by our new websites and our recently launched Product Information Management system ensuring customers have more detailed product descriptions to inform their purchases.”

He added: “Looking ahead, our strong liquidity position allows for continued investment in our strategy, positioning the business for sustainable growth whilst always improving the customer experience. We are confident in our strategy and in building a stronger N Brown for all stakeholders.”

The group’s shares jumped more than 20% in early trading this morning, hitting 17.95p per share, compared with last night’s closing price of 14.95p.

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