UK's N Brown says on track with plan as sales rise

LONDON, June 18 Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:42am EDT

LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) - British plus-size clothing home-shopping group N Brown said it was on track with its strategic plans for the year as it posted a 2.5 percent rise in underlying first quarter sales.

The Manchester, northern England, based firm, which targets older and larger shoppers with brands such as JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, is being re-positioned under new Chief Executive Angela Spindler.

She has reduced N Brown's participation in non-core home and electrical ranges to focus on its fashion offer and changed the phasing of marketing spend.

The firm said on Wednesday its total sales rose 2.6 percent in the 15 weeks to June 14, which it said was in line with its plan for the quarter.

It said sales in the last six weeks of the quarter had improved significantly, being up in the "high single digits".

Shares in N Brown, down 18 percent so far this year, closed Tuesday at 435.2 pence, valuing the business at 1.23 billion pounds ($2.1 billion).

The firm is building a physical store presence in the UK to complement its online and catalogue offer. It is targeting 25 stores, including a flagship store on London's Oxford Street.

N Brown is also seeking a slice of the $6 billion U.S. market for "fashion focused larger sized females" with its Simply Be brand. First quarter sales in the U.S. rose 15 percent. ($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

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