N Brown warns on full-year profits
The retailer said it now expects its full-year pre-tax profit to be between £88 million and £92 million.
In the six months to 30 August, total group revenue declined by 0.6% to £407.3 million, which was largely a reflection of lower sales in JD Williams. Like-for-like sales edged down 0.5% while pre-tax profit dropped to £42.7 million from £44.1 million in the same period last year.
The company, whose other brands include Simply Be, Jacamo and Figleaves, said its first half results also reflect far-reaching changes made in the period as part of plans to modernise the business and move it further away from a traditional mail order model. This includes making significant changes to the timing of the product season and the planned later phasing of products and marketing activities.
N Brown chief executive Angela Spindler said: "We have stepped up the pace of change in the business designed to unlock the potential value we see in a proposition built around fashion that fits.
“In modernising the way we operate and the way we go to market, we are focused on: attracting more customers by raising brand awareness and broadening our appeal; building customer loyalty through further product and service improvements; and creating a modern scalable infrastructure so that the business is fit for the future.
“Despite the negative effects of recent market conditions on performance, I am confident that we are taking the right actions and are making good progress."
The company said its growing stores business had performed well in the first half with like-for-like revenue growth of 17%. It is now planning to have 14 Simply Be/Jacamo stores trading by Christmas.
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