Profit and like-for-like sales up
Manchester-based home shopping company N Brown Group has boosted its pre-tax profit by 16.3 per cent to£29.2 million and increased like-for-like sales by 10.2 per cent on the back of booming internet sales.

The clothing-to-electricals catalogue company said that its online business had grown by over half in the six months to August 26 and now represented a fifth of its total sales.

In revealing its interim results, N Brown added that group turnover had grown 11.8 per cent to£255.8 million.

N Brown chief executive Alan White said: 'We continue to improve both our product offer and our channel distribution as shown by the growth in internet sales and this is resulting in an increase in sales both to new customers and to our active customer base.'

The company said that ladieswear had been its strongest performer with sales up 11 per cent to£138 million.

It added that its fastest growth continued to be in younger brands with a 15 per cent rise to£66 million.

However, the results also showed that the overall rate of gross margin on home shopping sales fell by 0.8 per cent due to increased discounting and bad debts.

N Brown said that trading to date in newly acquired upmarket ladieswear catalogue retailer Gray & Osbourn had been 'in line with expectations'.

When sales from this business were included in trading for the six weeks to October 7 figures were up 15.7 per cent, or 10.2 per cent excluding Gray & Osbourn.