N Brown warns on “lockdown challenges” after Christmas sales drop

N Brown Steve Johnson trading update
N Brown said it benefited from “particularly strong demand” for computing, gaming and white goods
// N Brown revenues drop during its Christmas quarter
// The group posted an 8.8% decline in group revenue during the 18 weeks to January 2
// Product sales were down 8.9% compared with a 28.8% drop in its first quarter

N Brown has seen its revenues drop during its Christmas quarter despite witnessing a “continued improvement” in sales.

The fashion group, which owns Jacamo and Simply Be posted an 8.8 per cent decline in group revenue during the 18 weeks to January 2.

Product sales were down 8.9 per cent compared with a 28.8 per cent drop in its first quarter, while revenues fell at the slower rate of 8.3 per cent.


READ MORE: N Brown completes £100m equity raising, joins AIM


N Brown’s five biggest brands JD Williams, Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson, Jacamo and Home Essentials saw their sales drop 1.4 per cent during the period.

They had dropped by 25.1 per cent during the first quarter of its fiscal year.

N Brown said it benefited from “particularly strong demand” for computing, gaming and white goods during the golden quarter.

Home and gift sales accounted for 42 per cent of N Brown’s product revenue, compared with 32 per cent during the same period last year.

N Brown said the performance was “in line with its expectations” and is forecasting an adjusted EBITDA of between £84 million and £86 million for its fiscal year.

However, the group warned that the latest lockdown restrictions would “present opportunities and challenges”.

It is currently “experiencing delays of two to three weeks” for many of its stock deliveries, which it blamed on “global container issues, as well as cost pressure in the supply chain”.

“We remain focused on our number-one priority of looking after our colleagues, whilst ensuring the business has the agility to respond to the ever-changing external environment and can continue to serve our loyal customers,” N Brown chief executive Steve Johnson said.

“We continue to move through the acceleration phase of our strategy; simplifying and strengthening our core brand proposition whilst improving our digital capabilities.

“This is generating continued momentum within the business, despite the difficult macroeconomic backdrop.”

On December 23, 2020, N Brown completed its £100 million capital raising and move to AIM.

This allows the group to repay all unsecured debt and in line with the targets laid out in November.

It now has a net cash position of £83.7 million and will invest further in its digital capabilities and accelerate its growth strategy.

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