Home shopping retailer N Brown produced a 26 per cent jump in annual profits yesterday after finally returning its key ladieswear operation to sales growth.
The publisher of catalogues Simply Be and Fashion World has focused on younger fashion designs and expanded the range of sizes on offer as part of a drive to end three years where it failed to achieve growth in its biggest market.
Announcing full-year prof-its of £51.8 million for the year to February 25, Manchester-b ased N Brown said ladieswear saw sales rise nine per cent to £245 million.
The internet also boosted the company with online sales up 70 per cent to £74 million and accounting for around 20 per cent of trade. The development of web shopping has also provided N Brown with an efficient marketing tool as it was able to run more than 150 different campaigns involving 33 million emails.
Chief executive Alan White said trading conditions remained tough but that sales growth of 8.2 per cent to £484.8 million in the past financial year had been followed by a rise of 7.1 per cent in the first ten weeks of the new period.
He added: "Improved product ranges and catalogue presentation, together with an increasingly significant proportion of online sales, demonstrates our ability to comp ete successfully in multi-channel retailing."
The company said its younger titles, mainly specialising in clothing for larger women in the 30 to 45 age range, continued to grow at the fastest rate with sales of £117 million, up 15 per cent on a year earlier.
Sales from the company's home and electrical categories did well in the second half and increased by 11 per cent.