N Brown’s November sales sparkle reversing warm early autumn downturn

A colder November came to N Brown Group’s rescue as the UK-based multi-channel apparel retailer became the latest in the sector to have been “adversely affected by unseasonably mild temperatures” in September and early October. That meant Q3 sales fell 2.3% and were down 1.2% year to date.

However, it noted trading since then has improved, reporting revenue growth in both October and November.

While the mild weather in September saw sales for the month plummet 10.8% on-year, growth returned in October, up 1.5%, which continued in November with sales up 3%, boosted by a pick-up in demand for traditional winterwear, with more robust sales of coats and boots, it said.
“We have continued with our programme of changes to move the business further away from the traditional mail order model towards our objective of being a multi-channel, fashion led retailer.

Continued growth in its online business sees the sector now accounting for 60% of total sales, with active customers up 2% year-on-year by the end of the quarter, it noted.

By brand, it saw the re-launched JD Williams banner experience a 30% year-on-year increase in new customers;

Boosted by news stores in London’s Oxford Street in September followed by further openings in Merry Hill, Norwich and Edinburgh during October and November boosted Simply Be and Jacamo brand sales growth by 78%.

It also reported “steady growth” in the US with product demand up 10% for the quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter, meanwhile, was in line with its expectations driven by a focus on “providing competitive value for our customers”, it said.

“We expect the trading environment to remain extremely competitive from here to our year end and therefore, despite progress made during the quarter our guidance for the year remains unchanged,” it added.

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