Angela Spindler was a surprise, but welcome, choice to become new chief executive of home shopping group
N Brown.

Angela Spindler was a surprise, but welcome, choice to become new chief executive of home shopping group
N Brown. As the boss of private equity-backed market town department store business The Original Factory Shop, she has presided over growth, but she brings a wide range of experience to her new role.

A marketing background from Coca-Cola, a short spell at Debenhams and, most importantly, her leadership of Asda’s George range, will all be invaluable at N Brown.

She joins at a time of change for N Brown, which owns brands such as Freddie Flintoff-fronted Jacamo. It has increasingly been transacting online rather than through catalogues - its traditional selling medium - and experimenting with multichannel models.

Under the leadership of departing chief executive Alan White, N Brown, while viewed as conservatively run, has been positioned for growth to come.

Broker Oriel, which issued a hefty buy note on Monday, certainly thinks so - it anticipates like-for-like growth of at least 6% over the next year as the retailer benefits from its success in recruiting new customers, who become regulars and whose spend typically rises rapidly.

The shift online has enabled N Brown to cut costs too. It expects to cut spending on the printing and distribution of catalogues, which come in at £90m a year, by £2m this year and next. Oriel expects that trend to continue.

White looks as if he has dealt Spindler a good hand as she takes over, and analysts’ reaction to her appointment shows they think N Brown should thrive under her leadership.

Hope in rising hemlines?

The latest BRC retail sales data contained a few surprises - including the odd fact that sales of mini-dresses rose in January despite freezing conditions.

It’s said that the economy rises along with hemlines. The 3% total sales rise in January was itself unexpectedly good, but sadly is probably not a sign retail is out of the woods.