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Brown (N.) Group PLC (BWNG)

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Wednesday 13 January, 2010

Brown (N.) Group PLC

Interim Management Statement

RNS Number : 4519F
Brown (N.) Group PLC
13 January 2010
 




13 January 2010


N Brown Group plc


Interim Management Statement and Trading Update


N Brown Group plc, the internet and catalogue home shopping retailer, today announces a trading update for the 19 weeks ended 9th January 2010.


Total Group revenue has increased by 4.9%.  Like-for-like sales, excluding revenue from Simply Be in Germany and High & Mighty, were up 3.6%. This improvement has been achieved on top of prior year growth of +8.8% and demonstrates the on-going robust trading performance of the Group.  Online sales have increased by 13% and now account for 39% of the total sales as we continue to invest significant time and cost to enhance the online content and shopping experience.


Sales have been particularly encouraging from the footwear, menswear, home and gift product ranges. The newer titles, Marisota and Jacamo, have seen the fastest growth of all the customer groups and increased marketing investment in recruitment activities has seen the number of new customers rise  The assets of High & Mighty were acquired in September 2009, and we are pleased with the development of the business so far, giving us confidence that it will be a useful addition to our brand portfolio.


Our international expansion plans are progressing on the back of Simply Be performing to expectations in Germany and our market research in the US is showing positive opportunities. 


The overall rate of gross margin achieved in the 19 weeks is 0.3% below last year.  There has been a modest improvement in the product margin as we have had less stock to clear than last year.  There are a number of indications that the performance of our debtor portfolio is stabilising, although we will continue to provide for bad debts at a higher level than last year until we have seen sustained improved trends for the level of arrears and third party collection rates in the first few months of 2010 We continue to focus on cost control resulting in our overheads and finance costs being better than our expectations.


The financial position of the group remains strong and has not significantly changed since the interim results. A lower level of stockholding and only a small increase in debtor balances will contribute to a further reduction in the level of borrowings by the end of the financial year.


The outlook for the economy in 2010 remains uncertain but we believe our strategic position and flexible business model will enable us to continue the growth of our business. The board is confident we can deliver a full year performance in line with our expectations. 



ENDS


For further information please contact:


N Brown Group plc

Alan White, Chief Executive                            Tel: 0161 238 2202

Dean Moore, Finance Director                       Tel: 0161 238 2208

Website: www.nbrown.co.uk


Kreab Gavin Anderson

Fergus Wylie/Clotilde Gros                             Tel: 0207 074 1800


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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