Internet and catalogue home shopping specialist N. Brown posted higher than expected full year results despite ongoing pressures on disposable incomes.
Group revenue increased 4.8% in the year ended 3 March to £753.2m, better than Peel Hunt's expectations of £743.4m. Pre-tax profit climbed 2.5% to £96.9m
Like-for-like sales for the 8 weeks ended 28 April 2012 rose 0.6% while e-commerce sales rose 16% to £377m.
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"Consumer confidence remains fragile but we believe the situation will improve in the second half of the year as inflation and income growth become more balanced and our own comparatives become softer," the group said in a statement.
Chairman Lord Alliance of Manchester added, "We have continued to focus on our multi-channel strategy, investing in our online trading platform, whilst also expanding our international activities."
International expansion is another key strategic development. N Brown said it will focus on the US and has appointed local digital marketing agencies to boost Simply Be's online recruitment and social media activities. It will also trial both Marisota and Jacamo, initially on the Simply Be website, and look to boost Figleaves' international sales.
"Although we do not expect the market to materially improve, we believe consumer confidence will begin to pick up later this year and we are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver in 2012," he added.
The full year dividend has been increased 5% to 13.03p.
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