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N Brown Group posts ‘resilient’ peak

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

N Brown Group has reported “strong peak performance” in clothing and footwear, as a result of increased demand for dresses, formalwear and outerwear.

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. The group said this was despite a higher returns rate in categories such as dresses.

However, this was offset by a reduction in home and gift of 19% during the same period: homeware brand Home Essentials faced tough comparisons of high demand “driven by lockdown in the prior year and saw a softer online home market than previously expected”.

As a result, group revenue in the third quarter to 1 January was down by 3.3% year on year to £267.6m.

Product revenue remained flat at £181.2m in the festive trading quarter, while financial services revenue was down 3% to £86.4m. N Brown Group said customer behaviour is “gradually returning to pre-Covid levels and we continue to see the benefits of offering our customers a well-managed, flexible credit product”.

For the full 2021/22 financial year the group now expects to report adjusted EBITDA between £93m and £96m, which is at the lower end of its previously guided range, reflecting online market conditions and a slightly higher level of projected spending now being expensed rather than capitalised. Adjusted EBITDA was expected to be in the range of £93m to £100m.

Steve Johnson, N Brown Group CEO, said: “The business has performed resiliently over the peak period and our colleagues have worked tirelessly to deliver for customers in challenging circumstances. Against the backdrop of Covid uncertainty, a volatile consumer environment and well-documented supply chain issues, the continued growth of our strategic brands has been particularly pleasing, as has a return to growth in active customers.

"We are now seeing more people than ever shopping with Simply Be and Jacamo. JD Williams is also resonating well with customers, particularly on the back of our successful partnerships with [TV presenters] Amanda Holden and Davina McCall (picture above).

“We have continued to execute on our plan and, looking ahead, will continue our strategic investment to transform the business, supported by a robust balance sheet and a strengthened executive team.”


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