Good weather in May helped home shopping group N Brown increase turnover 12.3 per cent for the 17 weeks to June 28.

Sales were particularly strong in May because summer catalogues were sent out. N Brown’s online sales now account for 31 per cent of transactions, with their value increasing 45 per cent.

At N Brown's AGM today, chairman Lord Alliance will say that, although the difficult economic climate could adversely affect customer spending, the retailer’s financial position is strong. In a statement, he said: “We continue to believe that the age and demographic of our customer base, coupled with the strength of our specialist product positions and the enhancements to our web sites, will deliver further progress in the remainder of the financial year.”

However, the increased mix of customers, products and channels resulted in a dip in the rate of gross margin of 0.6 per cent. Sales of menswear and home and leisure had been particularly encouraging, the group said.

Last year, N Brown invested in launches and acquisitions Simply Yours, Marisota, Jacamo and Nightingales, which, in aggregate, accounted for 4 per cent of its total sales growth.