Manchester retailer could close all stores to go online only

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Manchester fashion retailer, N Brown says it could close all of its high street stores as it focuses on developing its online presence, putting 240 retail jobs at risk.

The Group, which owns JD Williams, Jacamo and Simply Be, explained that weak in-store performance had motivated its decision.

Today’s trading statement revealed that group revenue grew 0.4%, with 75% of its total income generated from online sales. Of this, mobile devices accounted for 75% of all online sessions and smartphones alone being used for 57% of customer browsing.

However, on the high street, it reported a “very disappointing footfall”. Its 20 stores generated £15m of revenue (2% of Group revenue) and a loss of £3m.

“In line with our online strategy, and given continued weak high street footfall, we have today commenced a consultation process with colleagues over the future of our small store estate,” explained Angela Spindler, CEO.

It has begun a review of its store estate, which could mean closing all of the stores. This is likely to be completed by October.

“Should the decision be taken to close all 20 stores, we anticipate an exceptional cost of £18m to £22m, of which approximately half will be in cash” read the statement.

N Brown’s online revenue has grown 3%, with a 9% increase in Power Brand sales.

“We continue at pace our journey to become a global online retailer, uniquely delivering fashion that fits,” concluded Spindler.