N Brown has reported a rise in profits and sales amid a “challenging” market.

Although pre-tax profits fell 71.9% at a statutory level to £16.2m, they rose on a adjusted basis to £81.6m in the year to March 3.

N Brown’s group revenues climbed 3.9% to £922.2m in the period, when the Simple Be brand delivered a “standout” performance, achieving sales growth of 16.3%.

The retailer said that online sales rose 10% over the year and the retailer’s power brands - including Simply Be - were ahead 17%. Online penetration in the period was up four percentage pointsto 73% and 76% of all traffic came from mobile devices.

The retailer described its financial services performance as “strong” and maintained: ”The loan book is a significant asset, now standing at £598.8m on a ney basis”.

N Brown chief executive Angela Spindler said: ”Against a challenging market backdrop I am delighted to be reporting profit growth, with Simply Be the standout brand. 

”The second half was difficult for the fashion sector. A good performance in financial services provided the group with resiliency to enable us to continue to invest in our customer offer, successfully driving revenue and market share growth.

“Our strategy continues to deliver results, with market share gains in the UK, USA revenue up 21% in the second half, new partnerships unde rway and almost three quarters of our revenues now coming online.

“March was a challenging month for fashion retail, however, trade is improving through April, and at this early stage in the new financial year our overall expectations are unchanged.”

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