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Tough trading conditions hit Simply Be owner

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N Brown Group said it was facing tougher trading conditions as it revealed that group revenues fell 4.6%.

Its adjusted profit before tax was down 82.4% over the half year to £4.3m.

The Manchester company, which also owns JD Williams and Jacamo stated that weakening consumer confidence and a “challenging online retail market” had seen the wider market fall around 7%.

However, it was continuing to invest in digital, with its new mobile-first website for Simply Be launching in September. 

“In a difficult period of weakening consumer confidence, we’ve balanced our objectives between disciplined trading – with a focus on upholding margin – and delivering on our long-term strategy to transform the business,” said Chief Executive , Steve Johnson.

“Our teams have worked relentlessly to launch Simply Be’s new website, and early indicators give us confidence in the wider benefits for all our customers when we roll this out more widely across our other strategic brands.

“We anticipate continued softness in trading over the second half as macroeconomic pressures continue to weigh on consumers, despite government support. We will, therefore, maintain our focus on tightly managing both our costs and margins. At the same time, given our ongoing confidence in our strategy and the strength of our balance sheet, we will continue to invest in our digital transformation to deliver sustainable profitable growth.”

The group revealed a strong balance sheet, with unsecured net cash of £47.2m. Total accessible liquidity in excess of £200m.

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