TV shopping scaled down
Home shopping group N Brown's focus on niche products and a targeted customer base was rewarded by a 7.5 per cent sales uplift at its core business.

The underlying rise was 3.5 per cent, with the other 4 per cent accounted for by recently acquired House of Bath.

Chairman Lord Alliance said that despite the tough trading environment for retailers, he was confident of 'further progress' over the year.

In the first 20 weeks, group turnover was up 4.2 per cent. Clothing and footwear were star performers.

Lord Alliance said: 'We expect our autumn/winter catalogues to continue building on our strengths, with a further increase in the number of product options in larger sizes of clothing, underwear and wider-fitting footwear.

'Online sales of all our brands are still growing strongly, enabling more cost-effective promotional opportunities.'

However, N Brown has decided to scale down its investment in a TV shopping initiative - a joint venture with The Express newspaper - after reviewing its prospects.

Broker Numis said: 'The home shopping sector is a good sector to be in right now, because demand is holding up and cost bases are more flexible than store-based retailers.'

Seymour Pierce noted: 'While the retail environment remains challenging, N Brown continues to perform strongly, with sales increasing and all product categories showing growth.'