N Brown Chairman stands down as sales rise


Internet and catalogue home shopping retail business N Brown Group has today announced that Lord Alliance of Manchester is to stand down as Chairman after 40 years.

Lord Alliance, who acquired the business when it operated as JD Williams in 1963, will remain a major shareholder though be replaced in his role by Andrew Higginson, formerly Executive Director at Tesco.

Lord Alliance will remain a major shareholder and will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Lord Stone of Blackheath is also stepping down, in recognition of the requirements of the UK Corporate Governance Code and it is expected that two new appointments to replace the pair will be made by the end of the year.

Commenting on his departure, Lord Alliance said: “After over 40 years as Chairman of N Brown, I felt the time had come to pass on the role to a new generation which can continue to exploit the potential of multi-channel retailing.

“The company is in great shape, and will benefit from an injection of new blood and new ideas.

“As an ongoing major shareholder and board member I look forward to working with Andrew and to handing over to him the chairmanship of a company which has been so close to my heart for so many years.”

N Brown CEO Alan White, who has worked for the company for a decade, has also announced his retirement in the second half of 2013 and is to remain in his existing role until a new Chief Executive is settled into the business.

This news comes as the group announced its first quarter results, as total revenue for the period has increased by 2.5 per cent.

In the 17 weeks to June 30th 2012, like-for-like revenue growth rose 1.9 per cent, excluding sales from stores opened by the group in the last year.

Online revenue growth continues to drive sales, accounting for almost 53 per cent of total sales, leaving the group in a solid position for further expansion.

Recently the group acquired specialist garment retailer High & Mighty and lingerie retailer Figleaves, noting that the financial performances of these brands and other international business are “going according to plan.”

A statement from the group acknowledged the hardships facing the British high street but remained positive.

“Neither the prevailing economic backdrop nor the weather conditions are helpful to our business,” the statement said.

“However our flexible business model allows us to target the marketing investment and manage our cost base in order to deliver the best result in any given circumstances.

“This flexibility, combined with the focus on our key initiatives and the continuing strong financial position of the group, underpins and maintains the board‘s confidence in the future.”