Retail shopping group posts half year sales decline

Retail shopping group N Brown has reported a decline in half year sales while seeing profit slip into the red.

According to its latest trading update for the 26 weeks ended 2 September 2023, total sales fell 10.4% to £297m from £331.5m in 2022.

Adjusted EBITDA stood at £17.5m, down 37.3% from £27.9m, while pre-tax losses resulted at £4.1m, down from its profit of £7.2m recorded against the previous period.

N Brown said the decline in performance reflected the “challenging market conditions including unseasonable weather through Spring and July to August”, while the loss reported related to “restructuring activities to right-size the cost base”.

The group added that current trading is expected to be in line with market conditions with the first five weeks of Q3 reflecting an improvement over the Q2 run rate.

Steve Johnson, Chief Executive, said: “We expected external market conditions to remain soft and for the first half of FY24 to be particularly challenging. In response, we acted decisively to adapt to the trading environment and maintain real focus and discipline in areas which we can directly control, remaining on track to deliver full year adjusted EBITDA in line with the Board’s expectations.

“Alongside this, we’re pleased with the delivery of our strategy as we position the business for medium-term growth. Our investment across JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo has led to new commercial partnerships and technology upgrades to drive performance. We have a clear set of transformational priorities in train and expect to continue to deliver further progress during the second half of the year.

“Good work by our teams, including more efficient stock management, has helped generate cash and further improve our liquidity position in the half, providing a solid base for the continued investment in our priorities.”

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