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N Brown CEO: ‘Fashion is our top priority’

Updated: Feb 7

Fashion will continue to be N Brown Group’s main focus, the retail group's CEO, Steve Johnson, has told Drapers.



Across N Brown Group’s fashion brands – JD Williams, Simply Be, Jacamo, and Ambrose Wilson – clothing and footwear sales were up by 18% year on year in the 18 weeks to 1 January, as a result of increased demand for dresses, formalwear and outerwear.


However, home and gift revenues were down by 19% during the same period, which offset group revenue. Revenue across the group decreased by 3.3% year on year to £267.6m.

Steve Johnson, N Brown Group CEO, said its homeware brand Home Essentials faced tough comparisons of high demand driven by lockdown restrictions in the prior year: “Last year our homeware performance was strong. As we were in lockdown, not many people were buying clothes. Over the next few years this [split between homeware and fashion] will start to normalise."


However, he said the focus for the business will be on expanding its current product offering and introducing new third party brands: "I’m encouraging the team to focus on what they do well, and that’s clothing.

“We have to remember that this business is a clothing one, I’m proud of that. It is our USP (unique selling point) - we are a business that knows how to look after our customer and we’re at a unique point in the market [thanks to our inclusive sizing offerings]."


Johnson also told Drapers that sales of dresses would have been even higher without the surge of the Omicron variant in the run up to Christmas: “We were delighted with our clothing and footwear sales. Specifically, dress sales were phenomenal and took us by surprise. Like-for-like sales were up 80% compared with last year. However, [without Omicron] they would have performed even better. Dress sales were really strong in the run-up to Christmas, and formal menswear sales were also up [on the previous year].”

Meanwhile, the etail CEO detailed that N Brown Group’s operations were not impacted from the surge of the Omicron variant at the end of last year: “Our business was ahead of the curve. We bought ahead and well. [As a result] we had a lot of the stock we needed ready [before peak] in our warehouse.”


 

Original Article: https://www.drapersonline.com/news/n-brown-ceo-fashion-is-our-top-priority

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