N Brown sales slide in wake of 'challenging' Christmas

 
Sebastian McCarthy
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SimplyBe 'Curve Catwalk' During London Fashion
SimplyBe's 'curve catwalk' during London Fashion Week (Source: Getty)

Shares in plus-sized fashion group N Brown slumped more than eight per cent this afternoon after the e-commerce giant became the latest retailer to report a fall in sales over the Christmas period.


Growth in online trading was offset by a slump in its traditional catalogue-focused arm, with revenue in N Brown’s mail-order catalogue brands, including Julipa and Premier Man, plunging 23 per cent during the 18 weeks to 5 January.

However, the Manchester-based group’s online sales of its power brands, such as Simply Be and Jacamo, climbed 6.4 per cent.

Boss Steve Johnson said the firm’s performance came during “a challenging and highly promotional peak trading period.”

Under Johnson the company has continued its efforts to shift from bricks-and-mortar outlets and catalogue shopping to an online business.


In September it suffered a setback when chief executive Angela Spindler stepped down amid the pivot towards the online retail model, which has involved the closure of its 20 stores.

Today’s results come less than a month after fellow online retailer Asos delivered a shock profit warning after saying that the firm “experienced a significant deterioration in the important trading month of November and conditions remain challenging”.