N Brown has recorded a 1.5% increase in like-for-likes during its first quarter following a “step change” in its online penetration.  

N Brown's sales edged up in the first quarter

  • N Brown is moving to a digital-first model
  • Simply Be and Jacamo recorded double-digit growth
  • Revenues at JD Williams were ‘slightly’ down

N Brown reported 68% of new customer demand was generated online during the quarter ending 29 May, helping the retailer increase group revenues 2.5% and product sales by 4.3%.

The fashion retailer is in the midst of investing heavily in transforming from a catalogue retailer into an online business. As a result, it recently revealed statutory profit before tax fell 21.2% to £76.3m in the year to February 28.

N Brown chief executive Angela Spindler said: “During the [first] quarter we continued to streamline our organisation and our processes to embed a digital-first model.

“This year will be more significantly H2 weighted as the planned benefits of the changes made flow through, and we become more aligned with typical retail phasing. The scale of change is significant, but we are excited about the transformation under way.”

The Simply Be and Jacamo brands recorded mid double-digit total revenue growth year on year and an online sales penetration of around 90%.

Revenues at JD Williams were “slightly” down year on year as volumes increased 4% and new customers grew 27%.

N Brown added that online order frequency and units per basket recorded “pleasing” improvements, which helped offset the impact of average selling price declines.