Home shopping group N Brown’s pre-tax profit swelled 5.9% in its half year but it warned of dampening consumer sentiment.

The retailer, best known for its plus-size brands, grew pre-tax profit to £44.8m in the 26 weeks to August 27 against sales up 4% to £363.7m. It’s like-for-likes for the half were up 1.5%.

However, current trade has dipped. In the six weeks to October 8 like-for-like sales dropped 1.5%.

Chief executive Alan White said: “Looking forward, in the short term we expect the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook to continue to impact consumer sentiment, which is demonstrated by the extremely volatile shopping patterns we have experienced in the first few weeks of the second half.”

White said the growth was driven by the performance of its younger brands. Its menswear catalogues also performed well, particularly Jacamo which recorded 66%sales growth.

He said he was “encouraged” by the positive response its Simply Be brand has had in the US. The retailer opened the first two physical stores for the brand over the past two weeks.

N Brown chairman Lord Alliance of Manchester said: “We have focused on our core strategy to invest in the business, through brand acquisitions, the launch of Simply Be stores and our international expansion, which we believe will deliver long-term growth despite the short-term impact on profits.”