THE wettest April to June period on record has hit ladieswear sales at catalogue and online shopping group N Brown.
The company, which also owns swimwear and lingerie brand Figleaves and menswear firm High & Mighty, said like-for-like sales in the 17 weeks to June 30 were ahead 1.9%, lifted by menswear, footwear, lingerie and home.
However, ladieswear revenues have been lower than expected, primarily due to the unsettled weather, which has led to a 1% lower rate of profit margin than anticipated.
Meanwhile, Lord Alliance of Manchester announced his intention to stand down as chairman after more than 40 years in the role, while chief executive Alan White will retire in the second half of 2013.
N Brown said demand in menswear, footwear, lingerie and home has mainly been for value lines and discounted items.
However, N Brown said it is expecting an improvement later in the year as it plans to put out lower stock volumes, which will reduce sales of excess goods, and lower input prices to stimulate demand.
Lord Alliance created N Brown after pulling together several catalogue businesses into one company.
He said: “We have come a long way from the Manchester mail order business I bought in 1963 and today more than half our sales are online.”
The updates were welcomed by investors as the company’s shares were up 1% yesterday.
David Jeary, analyst at Investec, said he was positive on N Brown’s outlook hailing its “international potential, management quality and favourable demographic trends“.