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N Brown reports strong first half

N Brown, the online, catalogue and stores retailer, has reported and an increase in revenue and profits in the first half of its financial year as it announced plans to expand its store presence.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

N Brown reports strong first half

In the 26 weeks to the end of August, the group grew its profit before tax and fair value adjustments by 7.1% to £45 million. Revenue increased by 8% to £409.6 million with like-for like sales rising by 7.8%.

In a statement issued today, N Brown said the business had made good progress with key initiatives such as brand development, store operations and international in the period. Furthermore, overall trading in the five weeks to 5 October 2013 had continued to be strong with like-for-like sales rising by 8%.

The group, whose brands include Simply Be, Jacamo, High & Mighty and JD WIlliams, grew its online sales by 13% in the first half which meant that they accounted for 56% of its home shopping trade. Sales were boosted by increasing tablet and smartphone use which combined now represent 36% of the group's web traffic. As a result, the group has now reduced its paper-based marketing activity to save £1.5 million in costs in the year to date.

N Brown also announced plans to grow its store portfolio to nine sites with an overall target of 25 outlets.

During the first half, the group appointed Angela Spindler as its new chief executive. Commenting on the performance Spindler said: "I have spent my first three months looking at the business in detail and I am extremely excited by what I have seen.

"As these results demonstrate, the business is performing well, with significant opportunity for growth in the future based around our products, delivery channels and international development.

"Today, I am pleased to confirm the roll out of our SimplyBe/Jacamo store portfolio in the UK and I am looking forward to working with the excellent management team to build a leading global retailer famous for making shopping for fashion easy and enjoyable, regardless of size."

Chairman Andrew Higginson added: "During the period, we have welcomed Angela Spindler as CEO and have completed an extremely successful handover from Alan White, to whom I would like to give my personal thanks.

"The business is in an excellent position to continue to deliver positive results, as evidenced by our strong start to the second half."

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