N Brown power brands boost turnover

N BROWN, the Manchester-based online, catalogue and high street plus-size fashion retailer has said that its financial performance is being driven by a clear focus on its three ‘power brands’.

The company said turnover from its best known Simply Be, JD Williams and JD Williams brands was up by 10%.

Overall group  turnover increased 3.5% to  £866.2m (2015: £837.2m) for the full year to 27 February 2016.  

Although underlying profit before tax fell by 2% to £84.5m (2015: £86.2m), the group said this was in line with expectations. It showed a particularly strong performance in the second half, with underlying pre-tax profits increasing 11% on the previous half year to £49.5m.

Statutory pre-tax profits were down 7.8% to £72.2m (2015: £78.3m), which the group said reflected exceptional costs largely incurred in the first half.

Almost two-thirds of sales are now online and its transformation to a digital-first retailer continues, with around 66% of all traffic coming through mobile devices. Online penetration of 65% was up 6% on last year while online revenues increased 15%.

This year will see the group’s new IT platform implemented, bringing improvements to all areas of our business and chairman Andrew Higginson warned that a programme of such scale could bring some unexpected “bumps in the road”.  

“A huge amount of effort has gone into planning and preparing to mitigate these risks,” he added.

Chief executive Angela Spindler said: “Looking forward, whilst we face challenging market conditions for the fashion sector overall, and trading since the year end has been subdued, we remain confident in our ability to make further progress this year.

“This is based on the strong appeal of our specialist fit proposition, continuous improvement in the customer experience and changes in customer shopping behaviour, driven by targeted marketing.”

N Brown is headquartered in Manchester where it designs, sources and creates its product offer, and employs over 2,800 people across the UK.