Posted on May 2, 2019 by staff

N Brown’s CEO upbeat despite mixed results


Revenues at online retailer N Brown fell by 0.8 per cent in the 12 months to March 2019 to £914.4 million but its EBITDA rose by 7.9 per cent to £128m in the same period.

The Manchester-based multi-channel retailer has transitioned itself from being a catalogue business to a digital retailer with 80 per cent of its product revenue now coming digitally.

Although N Brown’s adjusted pre-tax profits were up from £81.6m to £83.6m, it reported a statutory loss of £57.5m, linked to legacy issues and the decision to close its store portfolio.

Chief executive Steve Johnson, who succeeded Angela Spindler, described the trading performance as ‘solid’ as the transformation into a digital retailer continues.

He said: “Encouragingly, we saw digital revenue growth across JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, as we improve our customer offer whilst managing the decline of our legacy offline business.

“We also benefited from improved use of our promotional spend, a strong financial services performance and a drive to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible across the business.

“A re-focusing of our strategy on delighting our customers is now required. We will initially focus on our core UK market, simplifying our approach to ensure our brand and product proposition continues to improve and resonate with customers.

“We will also look to harness data and technology to offer customers more choice and flexibility when shopping with us.

“All of this aims to return N Brown to sustainable profit growth, through a digital, retail-led, customer-centric strategy and at this stage in the new financial year our overall expectations are unchanged.  We look forward to the future with confidence.”

Earlier this week N Brown’s chief information officer Adam Warne told BusinessCloud that while 80 per cent of their business came online, 80 per cent of that number came from customers using mobile devices to shop with them.

Around a fifth of N Brown’s 2,000 staff are now working in technology.