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N Brown Group reports 29% FY profits fall

Tom Shearsmith
25 June 2020

UK clothing and footwear retailer, N Brown group has reported a decline in revenue and pre-tax profit following a year of restructuring.

Annual profits fell 28.9% in the 52 weeks to 29 February, during what the group described as a “critical year” in its transition to digital channels.

The group, which owns Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams, saw revenue fall 6.1% to £858.2 million in the financial year, during which the retailer looked to switch its give significance to its online sales.

N Brown did however make an operating profit of £48.1m, up from a £47.7m loss the year before.

On 18th May 2020, the Group agreed new amended financing facilities, including a new up to £50 million 3-year Term Loan facility, provided by lenders under the Government's Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The group also negotiated an amendment of certain terms and covenants of the securitisation facility, to mitigate a significant amount of the impact that COVID-19 may have in 2020 on the facility.

Chief Executive Steve Johnson said: "The crisis will cast a lasting shadow over the sector, but we are confident that our agile approach and attractive brand offerings, with clear target customer segments, position us well to navigate the issues and emerge as a stronger business.

"In a year of restructuring for the Group, Simply Be, JD Williams, Jacamo and Ambrose Wilson all grew digital revenue and following further progress in the first quarter of this financial year, 91% of our product revenue now comes from digital channels.

"The retail environment remains heavily promotional and the regulatory challenges in financial services have required us to adapt and evolve our offer, but our commitment to driving operating efficiencies is creating the right platform for the future.

Trading in the first quarter of this financial year was impacted by COVID-19 but sales in recent weeks have shown an improving trajectory and cash collections have been stable.  Operating costs are significantly lower than last year and net debt has decreased.

"As we move forward, we have refreshed our strategy, evolved our key pillars of growth and are pushing on with further work to streamline our brand portfolio, improve our product, create a brand new Home proposition whilst improving our digital capabilities and developing our financial services offer."

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