Retail shopping group sees sales and profit slip

Retail shopping group N Brown has reported a decline in full year sales alongside slipping profits.

According to its final results for the 53 weeks ended 4 March 2023, total sales were down 5.3% to £677.5m from £715.7m in 2022.

Adjusted EBITDA resulted at £57.3m, down 39.7% from £95m, while adjusted pre-tax profit fell 82.6% to £7.5m from £43.1m. Statutory loss before tax of £71.1m reflects final Allianz litigation settlement and a non-cash impairment to non-financial assets of £53m.

N Brown said that product revenue declined 6.9% (8.4% on a 52 week basis), with strategic brands down 5.3% (in line with the broader online non-food market), while margin rate continued to improve, up 1.8ppt, benefiting from reduced promotional levels and measured price increases.

As for current trading, the previously guided softer product revenue seen in Q4 FY23, down 17.8% year-on-year, has “broadly continued” into Q1 FY24 following a strong Q1 FY23 and poor early Spring weather.

Steve Johnson, Chief Executive, said: “We have remained adaptable to the trading environment which became more challenging during the year, as inflation impacted both our customers and our cost base. Although volumes softened, we maintained a disciplined approach to trading, with a particular focus on upholding margin despite a promotional backdrop.

“We continued to make strategic progress despite these challenges, increasing investment during the year, and we successfully launched our new mobile-first website for Simply Be. I would like to thank every single one of our colleagues for their role in achieving this progress, through their commitment to serving our customers and supporting our vision of championing inclusion.

“We are expecting the weaker consumer confidence to continue weighing on our performance before we see a return to growth and are therefore keeping a tight control of costs. We remain confident in our strategy and are more focused than ever on the transformational priorities which will deliver the biggest benefits, including new websites for Jacamo and JD Williams, and the delivery of our new financial services platform.”

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