UK's Largest Home Shopping Business Defies Crunch

13 October 2008

MANCHESTER, UK: Home shopping fashion giant N Brown, Britain's largest, has bucked the south-bound consumer sales trend, with revenues up 11.8% over the past five weeks, capping six months of growth in which sales increased 12.6% to £322.8m ($549.95m; €408.25m).

Pre-tax profit rose 20% to £40.8m, with most growth accruing from online sales, up 45% to £106m, around one-third of revenue.

Commented a [now unemployed] analyst at failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki: "We believe the shift to the web channel is having an increasingly powerful impact on the profitability of the company."

The group, whose clothing brands include Fashion World, JD Williams, Oxendale, Premier Man, Marisota. Jacamo, Simply Be and Simply Yours, is increasingly reliant on paid search to drive customers to its many websites.

Despite these bullish results are, ceo Alan White has no illusions about the near future, deeming it unlikely the upward tend will last through H2: "Internally, everything's wonderful. But we can't ignore what's going on in the outside world. That's making us more cautious."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff