Home shopping group N Brown is to up customer recruitment advertising as its worries over bad debt have eased.

N Brown chief executive Alan White said the retailer had pulled back on customer recruitment when bad debt became an issue, but was now ramping it up.

He said the retailer was securing prominent spots on TV and in print because ad rates have softened.

He said: “We have several brands on TV as it has been cheaper and are now getting slots in programmes such as Coronation Street, so we are ramping that up. Recruitment in the second half will slowly increase.”

This week N Brown revealed it is still trading in positive territory with sales in the six months to August 29 up 4.9% to £338.7m. Adjusted pre-tax profits grew 13% to £41.8m.
Although sales have slowed in the past six weeks, to just 1% ahead of last year, White said cooler weather and customers starting to think about Christmas led to its best ever weekend sales online last weekend.

“Customers are being more cautious,” White noted. “They are wanting good value basics or products with a bit of a wow factor. So the middle product ranges such as workwear are suffering.”
White thinks Christmas will be very promotional this year saying that customers will only be excited by product or price.

He said N Brown would not be affected by the impending Royal Mail strike, calling it a “nuisance” rather than a show stopper.