Outsize fashion group N Brown like-for-likes climbed 7.9% over the 19 weeks to January 12 as it invested an extra £2m in customer recruitment.

Total sales jumped 8.5% and online revenue, which now accounts for 54% of overall sales, soared 17%.

The retailer said full margin ladieswear sales, along with lower stock levels, meant there was a reduction in markdown.

N Brown said it had benefited from higher levels of new customer recruitment as it ploughed an extra £2m into wooing shoppers.

Sales from these customers are at a lower margin due to introductory discounts and higher levels of bad debt, however the home shopping group said it would help drive the business forward in its next financial year.

N Brown chief executive Alan White said: “It has been pleasing to see our investments in improved online systems, more customer recruitment and revamped product ranges and pricing continuing to drive a strong sales momentum, despite the lacklustre retail environment.”

The home shopping retailer said there were “promising signs” from its Simply Be and Jacamo stores, which it launched in 2011, and it would provide a detailed review of its foray into physical retail in March.

The retailer said it expects its results in the year to March 2 to be in line with expectations.

Brands targeted at the under 50 customer and home and gift ranges were the top performers over the period.