Plus-size retailer N Brown upbeat as profits rise

LONDON Thu May 1, 2014 2:31am EDT

LONDON May 1 (Reuters) - British plus-size fashion group N Brown, whose brands include Simply Be and Jacamo, posted a 5.3 percent rise in annual profit and said sales growth had continued into its new fiscal year.

The Manchester, northwest England-based home-shopping group said on Thursday it made an underlying pretax profit of 100.1 million pounds ($169 million) in the year to March 1, in line with analysts' forecasts.

Revenue increased 6.4 percent to 834.9 million pounds, the firm said, helped by strong growth in its young female and male consumer segments. Online sales made up 58 percent of total sales as the firm focuses on investment in its websites.

N Brown is expanding its business by opening a small number of click-and-collect stores in major British shopping districts, growing online sales and moving into the United States.

Supported by these changes, N Brown chief executive Angela Spindler said it would look to achieve a double digit rate of sales growth during its fiscal year to Feb, 2016.

The group said it had made a good start to 2014-15.

Shares in the group closed at 513 pence on Wednesday, up 15 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at 1.45 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds) (Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Brenda Goh)

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