Fashion group N Brown, which owns Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams, has said it is “confident” in its strategic direction for the year ahead, despite posting a dip in sales in its third quarter.
N Brown posted a 9.3% decrease in revenue for the 18 weeks to January 6, 2024, to reach a total of £226m.
The fashion retailer said product revenue was also down 9.7% to a total of £150.2m during the period, which was an improvement on the 11.9% and 10.4% decrease in its first and second quarters respectively.
N Brown said this reflects the “improvement” across its clothing, homewares and footwear categories during the quarter and the retailer also hailed the “strong performance” of its third-party brands, as well as its own brand Anthology.
The pureplay retailer said average item values during the third quarter were up, driven by “pricing discipline and product mix” despite volumes reflecting “the continuation of lower consumer confidence”.
Looking ahead, N Brown said it has plans to “enhance the customer experience” this year with the rollout of its new JD Williams website and new technologies across the portfolio.
These include the introduction of a product information management system, which is set to better inform customers of their purchases and reduce returns as a result.
In terms of outlook, N Brown said its full-year adjusted EBITDA expectations “remain unchanged” with softer revenues expected to be “offset by further margin discipline”.
N Brown added that, while the macroeconomic environment is likely to continue hitting consumer spend, it believes the conditions will “gradually improve” over the course of the year.
Chief executive Steve Johnson said: “We are pleased with the progress we have made in transforming the business, the resilience built through our strong balance sheet and that our full-year EBITDA expectations are on track.
“Building on what’s been achieved in the last 12 months, we continue to make progress on our strategic transformation, with the launch of the new Jacamo website another recent milestone.
“2024 will be about further improving the customer experience and positioning the business for future growth, with scheduled launches of the new JD Williams website as well as our product information management system, which will ensure our customers have better product descriptions to inform their purchases. Our strong liquidity position provides a solid base for continued investment in our strategic priorities.
“I’d like to thank all our colleagues for their commitment during peak trading and their continued hard work in progressing our transformation of the business. Change on this scale takes time and energy, but we are confident in our strategy and in building a stronger N Brown for all stakeholders.”