N Brown considers closing 20 stores
The company made the announcement when reporting on its first quarter trading.
In the 13 weeks to 2 June, group revenue edged up 0.4% after financial services revenue climbed by 9%. However, product revenue declined by 2.8% in the period. Although product revenue at Simply Be rose by 9.3% and by 2% at Jacamo, there was a 2% fall at JD Williams.
N Brown said the revenue decline seen in its secondary brands reflected a planned shift in marketing investment away from Fashion World towards JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo.
Speaking about the results, Angela Spindler, N Brown chief executive, said: "As highlighted in our full year results, this was a challenging period for fashion retail. Against this backdrop and a double-digit comparative in product revenue, I am satisfied with our Q1 performance. At this early stage in the financial year our full year expectations are unchanged.”
As it focuses on becoming a global online retailer, N Brown has undertaken a review of its store estate following “very disappointing” footfall and is now entering into a consultation with store staff with a view to closing 20 stores ahead of lease expiry. In FY18 the stores generated £15 million in revenue and an EBITDA loss of £3 million. The company said 75% of its total revenue is now generated online.
Spindler added: "In line with our online strategy, and given continued weak high street footfall, we have today commenced a consultation process with colleagues over the future of our small store estate. This action has not been taken lightly and we will do all we can to support the colleagues affected during this process. We continue at pace our journey to become a global online retailer, uniquely delivering fashion that fits. This will underpin our future growth, both in the UK and internationally."
N Brown expects the consultation process will be completed around the time of its half year results in October.
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