N Brown online push brings profits

N Brown Group’s digital transformation strategy appears to have started to pay off, with statutory profits of £18.8 million for the six months to 31 August, compared to losses of £27.1 million for the same time a year ago.

The fashion retail group - parent to Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams - saw pre-tax profits increase 3.9 per cent year-on-year to £31.8 million.

Half-year operating profit was £14.7 million, compared to a loss of £28.3 million last year, while earnings before tax rose four per cent year-on-year to £54.1 million. However, revenues dropped 5.4 per cent to £432.9 million.

N Brown stated combined online sales grew five per cent year-on-year across womenswear and menswear, with this channel now accounting for 84 per cent of its business, compared to 80 per cent in the previous financial year.

Last year, N Brown revealed plans for a major restructure, which included store closures precipitating a shift to becoming online-only.

“We announced our new strategy in May to return N Brown to sustainable profit growth and we have made good progress over the first half of the year,” said chief executive Steve Johnson.

“In particular, we have delivered on our strategy of growing digital revenue across Simply Be, JD Williams, Jacamo and Ambrose Wilson,” he continued. “This has been achieved by taking a more targeted approach to marketing and customer recruitment.

Johnson added: “The retail environment remains heavily promotional, but we are concentrating on continuing to improve our customer proposition and ensuring we operate as efficiently as possible.”

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